Commercial Aviation Weekly: 737 MAX's Important Date, Biometrics & Brexit

Joseph Vito DeLuca
Aug 1, 2019 - 3 min read

This week we run the gamut with commercial aviation topics. We'll be discussing Boeing's 737 Max, biometrics, Brexit, monopolies and landing an airplane, among other things. So let's get into it!

October Looms Large for the Boeing 737 Max

We're quickly coming to an impasse. The Air Current reports that October 1, 2019 is when contract provisions kick in with some Boeing customers that allow them to opt out due to delayed aircraft delivery.

The problem is that the 737 MAX grounding continues to get extended with no clear end date in sight. Shall this grounding extend into October, Boeing may be faced with a number of cancelled contracts.

Those involved in commercial aviation will want to watch this date closely as the 737 MAX saga continues. All of this has led to a predictably poor Q2 for the airline manufacturer. Stay tuned to Kambr Media as we'll have a full commercial aviation Q2 earnings recap.

United Goes in on Biometrics

As travel tech goes, biometrics has been one area garnering a lot of attention. United Airlines has made a major investment into the technology by purchasing a stake in biometric screening company Clear.

According to a FastCompany article, Clear was founded in 2010 and since then has garnered 3.8 million members who use its biometric screening systems at select airports around the country to move through security checkpoints more quickly. Clear charges $179 a year for passengers to use its biometric kiosks at airports.

Also worth noting, United is not the only airline with a stack in the company. Delta has also made a previous investment.
This might bring us one step closer to the future of travel that some have dreamed about (or maybe dread depending on who you are).

Cool Commercial Aviation Video of the Week

Speaking of the future, Airbus revealed its cabin of the future.

Some of the features include a family compartment, working quarters, interactive digital displays and a health and well-being section.

UK Aviation Companies Prepare for Brexit

According to a report from The Guardian, the British aerospace industry has stepped up plans for a Brexit exodus from the UK aviation regulator, as a second deadline for the UK leaving the EU without a deal looms.

More than 600 British aerospace companies applied to be regulated in Europe as third-country parties under a scheme allowing companies single market access in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

This is of course an important topic for airlines. For instance, those with non-EU ownership such as Iberia could face interruptions to their services. The EU itself warned airlines back in February to plan accordingly.

On the macro level, these protectionist measures could lead to a decrease in air passenger growth. This is among several political policies that are worth observing for those in commercial aviation.

Are Airline Mergers Creating Monopolies?

Gary Leff of View from the Wing offers up this very important question.

Leff suggests, "While there’s certainly been consolidation in the airline industry as America West acquired US Airways and then American; Delta acquired Northwest; Continental acquired United; Southwest acquired AirTran and Alaska Airlines acquired Virgin America this hasn’t led to higher prices for consumers. Government should remove barriers to competition, but it’s a stretch to suggest that the several large airlines in today’s industry constitute anything close to monopoly."

He referenced the following chart:

Chart via View from the Wing

Leff agrees with economist Thomas Philippon in that foreign competition should be permitted on U.S. routes (or foreign ownership of U.S. airlines), but that alone will not solve the problem. The scarce resource of airport gates and slots at major airports is the bigger problem.

This topic of foreign airlines in U.S. airspace of course has been a major storyline in aviation. The latest news was President Donald Trump meeting with airline executives on the matter. In what was a surprise for some, Trump took the side of Persian Gulf-based airlines on the subject matter.

Random But Interesting Read

The thought has crossed everyone's mind at one time or another. What happens if something happens to the pilots and a passenger somehow has to take to the cockpit? Fortunately for just the occasion, Wired published an article about how to land a plane during an emergency situation.

It follows a simple mnemonic called ANC: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.

Aviate: You need to keep the plane in the safe, stable flight you found it in.
Communicate: If you haven’t already put on the headset, do so now.
Navigate: Ask the controller for a direction to fly in to keep you clear of terrain and perhaps also bad weather.

Head over to Wired and read the article because you never know!

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