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Ethiopian Airlines crash – a second new Boeing 737 falters after take off

The Thaiger

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Ethiopian Airlines crash – a second new Boeing 737 falters after take off | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: A brand new Boeing 737 Max 800 for Ethiopian Airlines

All 157 people on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa that crashed yesterday morning have died, the airline has confirmed.

The airline said in a statement… “We hereby confirm that our scheduled flight ET 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in accident today.”

The plane is reported to have been first flown by Ethiopian Airlines last November. On its website the airline only listed one 737 Max 800 in its fleet.

This becomes the second time in less than six months, an identical, brand new Boeing aircraft crashed just minutes into a flight – either a tragic co-incidence or a statistical concern for operators of the new Boeing 737 MAX 800 aircraft.

Regionally in Asia, many of the budget airlines fly the new 737 MAX 800 series aircraft including VietJet, Lion Air, Garuda, Silk Air, Korean Air, Nok Air, Malaysia Airlines and a raft of the newer Chinese airlines.

Yesterday’s Ethiopian Airlines tragedy follows the Lion Air flight that went down over the Java Sea off Jakarta in late October 2018, killing all 189 people on board.

The Thaiger report about that crash HERE.

At this stage there is already speculation as to what caused the latest disaster as the business of recovery of body parts and plane wreckage continues. And there is no evidence that the two incidents are linked.

But both flights took place on the new 737 MAX 800 aircraft, a new Boeing model that saw its first flight less than two years ago.

The new 737 models, whilst sharing the same ‘737’ name as the popular short haul jet launched in the 1960s, are a vastly different plane in technology, materials and efficiency, including all the latest avionics, warning systems and fuel-saving engines.

Mary Schiavo, a CNN aviation analyst and the former Inspector General of the U.S. Transportation Department, says that two crashes, both in the minutes following take off, and in a brand new plane, is “highly suspicious”.

“Here we have a brand-new aircraft that’s gone down twice in a year. That rings alarm bells in the aviation industry, because that just doesn’t happen,” she told CNN.

The Lion Air flight went down 13 minutes after take off, while yesterday’s Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed just 6 minutes into its flight.

It is also known at this stage that the Ethiopian Airlines did dip and then regain altitude before it crashed, just like the Lion Air flight.

“The similarities with the Lion Air incident are too great not to be a concern,” Schiavo said.

At the root of October’s Lion Air crash was a new safety system installed in the MAX 8 plane, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, that automatically forces the plane ‘nose down’ if data suggests it is at risk.

In the Lion Air flight, the system was responding to faulty data (according to the flight data recorded and investigator reports) that suggested the nose was tilted at a higher angle than it was, indicating the plane was at risk of stalling.

For the Lion Air pilots it ended as futile tug-of-war with the plane’s automatic systems, trying to reverse a nosedive that should not be triggered so soon after takeoff. Boeing has argued strongly, and publicly, that pilots should have identified the system was in operation, and turned it off.

In the case of the Ethiopian Airlines flight it is likely we will get information from the flight recorders in a matter of days or weeks. That the crash occurred over land will make the retrieval of this vital information much easier. The two ‘black box’ recorders (which are actually orange) record all the flight data from systems around the aircraft, and the actual conversations and radio chatter in the cockpit.

Ethiopian Airlines has had a high safety record in the past whilst there have been industry concerns surrounding Lion Air for a long time.

If investigators are able uncover a similar cause of the two accidents the repercussions for Boeing, and other airlines flying the new Max 800 aircraft, could be dramatic.

CNN aviation analyst Schiavo says, “The MAX 8 could be grounded if a link is found, either by the company itself, or by governments, though the former is more likely to come first. The voluntary basis is always the better way to go, but it will be expensive for Boeing.”

SOURCES: The Thaiger | CNN.com

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Weather

“Hot to very hot” in the North and Northeast, thundershowers predicted

Greeley Pulitzer

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“Hot to very hot” in the North and Northeast, thundershowers predicted | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

A thermal low still covers upper Thailand, while southerly and southeasterly winds prevail over the Northeast and the East regions. Thailand is now in the ‘shoulder’ season, between the dry season and wet season, which is set to kick in sometime in April. (Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai 5 day forecasts below)

Chiang Mai is poised for another week of scorchers, each day predicted to be over 40C.

“Hot conditions still prevail over most of upper Thailand and very hot weather is forecast for parts of the North, the Northeast and the Central regions,” according to the Thai Meteorological Department.

“Thundershowers and gusty winds are forecast for the Northeast and the East. People should beware of severe weather and keep off unsecured buildings and wilderness areas. Farmers should beware of crop damage.”

The weather forecast for the next 24 hours is as follows:

Northern region: Hot to very hot; temperature lows of 18-25℃ and highs of 38-41℃.

Northeastern region: Hot to very hot with thundershowers in some areas; lows of 22-26℃ and highs of 36-40℃.

Central region: Hot to very hot; temperature lows of 24-26℃, highs of 37-40℃.

Eastern region: Hot with thundershowers and gusty winds in 10% of the areas; lows of 25-28℃, highs of 33-38℃; waves a metre high.

Southern region (east coast): Partly cloudy with thundershowers in 10% of the areas; lows of 23-27℃, highs of 33-36 ℃; waves a metre high.

Southern region (west coast): Partly cloudy with thundershowers in 10% of the areas; lows of 24-26℃, highs of 35-38℃; waves a metre high, higher offshore.

Bangkok and surrounding areas: Hot during the day; lows of 26-27℃, highs of 34-39℃.

Bangkok’s 5 day forecast…

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Phuket’s 5 day forecast…

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Chiang Mai‘s 5 day forecast (yikes!)…

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SOURCE: The Nation | Weather.com

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Hundreds of Thai hotels seek aid to protect employees

Anukul

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Hundreds of Thai hotels seek aid to protect employees | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: thaiquote.org

Will the Thai Social Security Office compensate hundreds of hotels pursuing emergency assistance? Hotels are doing it hard as tourism has come to a virtual halt inside Thailand and hotels are either closing or scaling back their operations substantially.

Yesterday, The Thai Hotel Associations sent a letter to the Thai Chamber of Commerce notifying them that hundreds of hotels are seeking emergency assistance from the government, to protect employees during the temporary closure of Thai hotels due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

However, according to ‘Section 75′ of the Labour Protection Act, hotels operators must cover 75% of employees’ salaries when shutting down their businesses. But at times like this, when occupation rates have tanked, most hotel operators are running out of cash and can’t make those payments to employees. Hence the THA is requesting for more measures to support employees and hotel operators

Chairman of the chamber Kalin Sarasin, says…

“The THA asked the government to open a registry for hotels that have to temporarily stop operations because of the ‘force Majeure’ under Section 79-1 of the Social Security Act. If the government authorises this measure, the office can pay 50% of salaries to employees for 180 days.”

“This is an urgent issue for the chamber. We’ll submit the request to the centre for the resolution of emergencies, aiming to settle it soon, because as up to a hundred hotels have suspended their businesses.”

“Operators in some provinces will not have this problem, as there is a clear official order to close hotels in the area, meaning employees automatically have protection under Section 79-1.”

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says that, “he asked the THA to submit the letter to both the Tourism and Sports and Labour Ministries directly on Monday for further discussion.”

Hundreds of hotels around Thailand have already closed their doors.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai fire spikes air pollution up to 20 times ‘safe’ levels

The Thaiger

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Chiang Mai fire spikes air pollution up to 20 times ‘safe’ levels | The Thaiger
PHOTO: khaosodenglish.com

A bushfire roaring away in the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park in Chiang Mai is causing continued concerns for Chiang Mai residents because of the dangers to nearby villages and the smoke filling the skies of the city. 500 local officials and soldiers from the 3rd Army Region were called in to fight the blaze and spent 14 hours bringing it under control, including calling in helicopters to drop water as they tried to control the spread.

It also pushed air pollution readings in the region up to record highs.

Chiang Mai fire spikes air pollution up to 20 times 'safe' levels | News by The Thaiger

The large fire, which started sometime early on Wednesday evening, has now been brought under control.

“The damage it left behind is extensive,” according to Chiang Mai’s governor, Charoenrit Sanguansat.

The bushfire sent PM2.5 levels in the immediate area to “record levels” of around 1,000 micrograms per cubic metre, a massive 20 times above levels considered safe in Thailand.

Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says he’s “gravely concerned by the fire in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park”, and ordered Interior Ministry officials to work with the Royal Thai Army to control any smaller fires and ordered helicopters to assist.

Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang and Mae Sot were all affected in the past few days as the result of the large forest fire, as well as hundreds of other plantation fires burning in the north, and over the border in Myanmar.

Chiang Mai fire spikes air pollution up to 20 times 'safe' levels | News by The Thaiger

airvisual.com

Pralong Dumrongthai, Pollution Control Department director-general, says the air pollution in the North can partly be blamed on fires across the border, and the government is working with Myanmar to help address the issue.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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