March 16, 2019 / 5:46 PM / 8 days ago

What we know about Boeing 737 MAX crash and what comes next

 (Adds cockpit voice recorder study has started, para 16)
    March 16 (Reuters) - More than 300 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX
9 passenger jets around the world have been taken out of service
following two fatal crashes over the past five months in
Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed almost 350 people in all.
    The causes of both crashes are still under investigation.
One of the biggest unanswered questions: Was the plane's
software to blame?             

    WHAT WE KNOW  
    - Boeing has stopped delivery of all new MAX jets to its
customers.             
    - Satellite data gathered from the Ethiopian Airlines flight
and evidence from the crash site showed similarities with a Lion
Air accident in Indonesia, which prompted the U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration to ground all Boeing MAX jets in
service.             
    - Investigators have found a piece of a stabilizer in the
wreckage of the Ethiopian jet with the trim set in an unusual
position similar to that of the Lion Air plane, two sources
familiar with the matter said.             
    - The pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines flight had reported
internal control problems and received permission to return. The
pilot of the Lion Air flight had also asked to return not along
after taking off from Jakarta.
    - Technical analysis of the black boxes from the crashed
Ethiopian Airlines jet is underway in France. It will take
several days to complete the first readings from the boxes,
French aviation officials said. The U.S. National Transportation
Safety Board is sending investigators to assist and an Ethiopian
team arrived in Paris on Friday.                         
            
    - The Ethiopan Airlines plane requested permission to return
to Addis Ababa airport three minutes after takeoff as it
accelerated to abnormal speed, the New York Times reported.
            
    - Indonesia plans to move up by about a month the release of
an investigation report on the Lion Air crash, which killed all
189 on board, its transport safety committee said on Friday. It
now plans to release the report between July and August, ahead
of its previous schedule of between August and September.
             
    - Following the Lion Air crash in October, Boeing said it
was preparing a software upgrade for the jets. After the
Ethiopia crash, the company said it would deploy that upgrade
across the fleet in the coming weeks.                         
    - Boeing maintains its new, fuel-efficient jets are safe,
but supported the FAA decision to ground them. Fearing a
financial hit and brand damage, investors have wiped about $26
billion off the company's market value. 
    - U.S. lawmakers said the planes could be grounded for weeks
to upgrade the software and install it in every plane.
            
    - Boeing plans to release upgraded software for its 737 MAX
in a week to 10 days, sources familiar with the matter said on
March 16.             
    - No lawsuits have been filed since the crash of Ethiopian
Airlines Flight 302, but some plaintiffs' lawyers said they
expect that Boeing will be sued in the United States.
            
    
    WHAT'S NEXT?
    - Investigators are expected to release a preliminary report
based on information they glean from the data and cockpit
recordings captured by the two black boxes.
    - Investigators have begun studying the cockpit voice
recorder, France's BEA air accident investigation agency said on
Saturday. The BEA also issued a photo showing the recorder
intact but dented by the impact of the plane's crash into a
field minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.             
    - Ethiopian Airlines said on March 16 that DNA testing of
the remains of the passengers may take up to six months.
            
    - A decision will be made by countries about whether and
when to lift the grounding of the Boeing jets based on that
information.

    
 (Compiled by Ben Klayman, Sayantani Ghosh and Mark Potter)
  
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