Welcome to this edition of the PaxEx Update, bringing you the top headlines for the week ending 11 October 2019.
How many challenges can Boeing‘s 737 program withstand in a week? An Ethiopian whistleblower raised claims of questionable maintenance and training practices while Southwest‘s pilots are suing for lost wages. The FAA’s Joint Operational Evaluation Board still has not finalized its review of several quick response checklists for pilots meaning certification test flights are unlikely before November.
The slightly older NG family took a hit with at least 38 older planes grounded after inspections revealed cracking in the “pickle fork” that joins the fuselage to the wing, a component that is never supposed to crack.
The 737 distractions might force Boeing’s hand on the NMA front, with reports of a renewed 767 using the GEnx engines from the 787 line as a possible play.
Vietnam Airlines (re-)launched its inflight wifi offering this month in partnership with SITAONAIR. While the carrier is expected to eventually bring Inmarsat‘s GX Aviation offering online this first step relies on the older, slower SwiftBroadband solution that first was active for the carrier three years ago.
Is there a market for fancy seats on mid-haul routes? Taiwanese upstart Starlux wants to deliver luxury in the sky with lie-flat beds, but its current route profile tops out at 4 to 5 hours in the sky. That’s a hard value proposition to drive. But it sure looks sexy.
Delta Air Lines revamped its SkyMiles credit card portfolio with partner American Express and the reviews are mixed. The carrier remains confident in the value of its loyalty program, however, nothing in its Q3 earnings call this week that it expects to deliver $100 million in points-based upgrades to more than 1 million passengers this year thanks to changes in the way it prices and markets those products to users.
And then United Airlines rounds out the loyalty news this week by completely revamping the way it will calculate elite status with a much heavier focus on customer spend, eliminating miles flown from the formula.
Keep up with these stories and more all week long at PaxEx.Aero and have a great trip.