New York Area Airports Crossed Pre-Pandemic Traffic in April

Abhishek Nayar

31 May 2023

When it comes to gauging the health of the aviation industry, monitoring airport traffic statistics is critical. It serves as a barometer for evaluating activity levels and gives significant insights into the industry's recovery process. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently announced April traffic figures for the region's three major airports, JFK, EWR, and LGA. These figures reflect a noteworthy surge in international travel demand and provide encouraging indicators for the industry's recovery.

A Brief Overview of the Three Airports

Before we get into the intricacies of the traffic data, allow us to become acquainted with the three airports in question. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is located in Queens, New York, and is one of the busiest airports in the United States. It is an important hub for both domestic and international travel. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), in Newark, New Jersey, is another major hub serving the New York metropolitan region. Finally, LaGuardia Airport (LGA), which is situated in Queens, is well-known for its closeness to Manhattan and is a popular alternative for domestic travelers.

Detailed Passenger Numbers for Each Airport

During April, the three main airports, JFK, EWR, and LGA, welcomed an outstanding total of twelve million passengers. This enormous statistic indicates a crucial milestone in the aviation industry's continued recovery, indicating an upward trend following the pandemic-induced depression. The John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Airport, and LaGuardia Airport all exceeded passenger traffic levels by 1%, 6%, and 3%, respectively, compared to the previous month's pre-pandemic April 2019. JFK served 5.2 million passengers, Newark served 4.2 million, and LaGuardia served 2.7 million. The Port Authority's commercial airports likewise broke their previous record high for any first quarter in 2023 during the first quarter of 2023. Between January and March, the three airports handled 32 million people. This figure represented a roughly one million passenger increase over the same period in 2019, the previous pre-pandemic record. Newark and LaGuardia airports, in particular, broke new first-quarter records with 11.1 million and 7.2 million passengers, respectively (their previous marks were 10.4 million and 6.7 million in 2019). The Transportation Security Administration recorded 2.74 million passengers on Friday, May 26. This is a 6.7% increase over pre-pandemic numbers.

Factors Influencing Passenger Volume Increase

A number of factors have contributed to the increase in passenger flow at New York airports:

International Flight Resumption: Due to the relaxation of travel restrictions and the reopening of borders in several countries, airlines have been able to resume a substantial number of international flights. This has given travellers additional alternatives and boosted their desire to fly.

Vaccine Rollout and Travel Restrictions: The effective rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has boosted traveller trust and played a critical role in relaxing pandemic-imposed travel restrictions. Vaccinated people now have more flexibility to travel, resulting in a rise in passenger numbers.


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's April 2023 traffic figures exhibit a positive trend in the aviation industry's comeback. The 8% rise in international travelers at JFK, EWR, and LGA airports demonstrates increased passenger confidence. With JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia airports breaking their prior April 2019 records, it is clear that air travel is gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels. These figures demonstrate the airports' resiliency and the aviation industry's perseverance. As the travel sector continues to recover and adapt, airports' dedication to passenger safety and comfort remains vital. With the implementation of strengthened safety standards, the reinstatement of aircraft schedules, and continued immunisation efforts, the future of domestic and international travel appears bright.

With Inputs from Cirium

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Qantas to Setup Largest Climate Fund in the World

Abhishek Nayar

31 May 2023

Climate change is a pressing global issue that demands cross-industry collaboration. Recognizing the need to actively contribute to environmental sustainability, the Qantas Group established the Qantas Climate Fund. This fund will provide critical assistance to initiatives and technologies that reduce emissions and help the Group meet its ambitious ecological targets.

The Qantas Climate Fund: An Overview

The Qantas Group, one of the world's premier airlines, has announced the foundation of the Qantas Climate Fund, a significant step towards combating climate change. This ground-breaking initiative, announced at the Group's Investor Strategy Day, aims to allocate AUD$400 million in direct investments in sustainability initiatives and technological advances. The Qantas Climate Fund, the world's largest aviation fund of its type, illustrates the airline's commitment to minimizing emissions while fostering a sustainable future. As it progresses towards net zero emissions by 2050, the airline has pledged to minimizing carbon emissions by 25% by 2030 (based on 2019 levels) while employing 10% SAF in the Group's fuel mix by 2030. The airline is seeking expressions of interest from businesses and industries interested in seeking funding.

Addressing Emissions Reduction Targets

The Vitality of Sustainability Projects and Technologies

To prevent the negative consequences of climate change, it is critical to adopt sustainability programmes and technology across all industries. The aviation sector, which accounts for a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions, must actively seek carbon-reduction methods. The Qantas Climate Fund recognizes this need and works to sponsor efforts that reduce emissions.

The Importance of Direct Investments

Qantas emphasizes the value of proactive engagement in sustainability programmes by establishing a climate fund dedicated to direct investments. Direct investments offer the resources required for the development and implementation of cutting-edge technology, allowing the aviation sector to move towards a more sustainable future. The Qantas Climate Fund is a real move taken by the airline to assist and expedite the implementation of these solutions.

The Qantas-Airbus Partnership

Accelerating the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Industry

Qantas formed a historic agreement with Airbus in 2022, spending AUD$290 million to accelerate the formation of a domestic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in Australia. This alliance intends to revolutionize aviation fuel manufacturing by concentrating on environmentally friendly options that dramatically minimize emissions. The Qantas Climate Fund will continue to support this collaboration, helping to foster growth in the SAF industry and ensure a sustainable supply chain.

Domestic Impact and Global Leadership

The partnership between Qantas and Airbus helps not only the domestic aviation sector but also positions Australia as a worldwide leader in sustainable aviation. By investing in local SAF manufacturing, the alliance helps to create jobs, promote technology, and lower Australia's carbon footprint. This joint endeavor exemplifies the Qantas Group's commitment to environmental leadership and serves as an example for the global aviation sector.

Calling for a Sustainable Aviation Fuel Mandate

SAF is the most important technique now available to airlines for reducing emissions, especially because it can be employed in today's engines and fuel supply infrastructure with no changes. Qantas is now acquiring SAF from international suppliers, including 10 million litres for flights out of London in 2023 and 20 million liters annually for flights out of California beginning in 2025. However, Australia lacks a local commercial-scale SAF industry. Domestically produced SAF will play an important role in the Qantas Group achieving its objective to use 10% SAF in its overall fuel mix by 2030 and 60% by 2050. To help initiate SAF production in Australia, the Group is calling on the Australian Government to implement a SAF blending mandate as part of a larger framework of industry policies, similar to those already announced in other jurisdictions. The United Kingdom, Europe, and Japan have set or proposed mandates ranging from 5% to 10% to be achieved by the end of the decade, while the United States has set a 2030 production target of 3 billion gallons per year.

Additional Environmental Initiatives

Aside from the collaboration with Airbus, the Qantas Climate Fund will invest AUD$110 million in other environmental projects. These programmes address multiple facets of sustainability and attempt to influence change within the aviation industry. Among the prominent efforts are:

High-Integrity Carbon Offsets

The Qantas Climate Fund will invest in high-integrity carbon offset initiatives to offset unavoidable emissions. These programmes follow tight regulations and guidelines to ensure that emissions are properly balanced by activities including reforestation, renewable energy initiatives, and sustainable land management practices. The fund's support for high-integrity carbon offsets reflects its dedication to genuine mitigation of emissions.

Offshore Sustainable Aviation Fuel Investments

The Qantas Climate Fund will invest in offshore sustainable aviation fuel projects to help accelerate the global transition to sustainable aviation. Qantas hopes to accelerate the global adoption of sustainable fuel alternatives by providing monetary assistance for international initiatives. This investment will fuel technical improvements and help make the aviation sector more sustainable across the world.

Operational Efficiency Technologies

In the aviation industry, operational efficiency is a major component of minimizing emissions. The Qantas Climate Fund will invest in the research and deployment of operational efficiency technology. These technologies include a variety of breakthroughs, such as enhanced aircraft systems, optimized flight planning, and enhancements to ground operations. Qantas seeks to mitigate its environmental impact and increase sustainability by prioritizing operational efficiency.


As part of the airline's 2023 Investor Day, Qantas Group Chief Sustainability Officer Andrew Parker announced the increased sustainability investment. "Managing climate change is now built into how we do business and is a key part of our strategy through 2030 and beyond," said Mr. Parker. "With sustainable aviation fuel powering our flights out of London, more fuel-efficient aircraft arriving every month, and a mature carbon offset programme, we have already made progress towards our interim climate targets." "We must accelerate these efforts if we are to reduce carbon emissions by 25% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050." "We look forward to working with the government and the rest of the industry to make the most of this opportunity for Australia."


The Qantas Climate Fund demonstrates the Qantas Group's commitment to environmental sustainability. This ground-breaking fund will support sustainability initiatives and technology with a substantial investment of AUD$400 million, establishing Qantas as a worldwide leader in the battle against climate change. Qantas aspires to meet its emissions reduction objectives while also supporting a cleaner aviation sector by committing resources to the development and implementation of new solutions.

With Inputs from Qantas

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Riyadh Air In talks to Induct Boeing B737 MAX Aircraft

Radhika Bansal

30 May 2023

Boeing is working on a deal to sell at least 150 737 Max jetliners to Saudi Arabian startup Riyadh Air, Bloomberg News reported. The new carrier, wholly owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), is looking for about 300 to 400 single-aisle jets in total, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. Airbus SE could also claim a part of the order, the report added.

Boeing declined to comment, while Riyadh Air and PIF did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment. Boeing previously won another order from state-owned airline Saudia and Riyadh Air for a combined 78 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the fifth-largest commercial order by value in the plane maker's history.

Owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), Riyadh Air said it will purchase 39 highly efficient 787-9s, with options for an additional 33 787-9s. Based in the capital city, Riyadh Air will play a key role in growing Saudi Arabia's air transport network. The Dreamliner aircraft will be equipped with General Electric’s GEnex engines. This is Boeing's fifth biggest order historically after a massive order by Air India last month.

The first deliveries of the widebody aircraft are scheduled for early 2025. Riyadh Air will be a digitally-led full-service airline with a commitment to sustainability reflecting Saudi Arabia’s transformative projects under Vision 2030. It will operate in line with the country’s strides toward net zero emissions.

Riyadh Air is wholly owned by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has more than USD 600 billion in assets and is the main driver of the kingdom's efforts to wean itself off oil. The airline will serve more than 100 destinations around the world by 2030 and will directly compete against Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Riyadh Air hired Tony Douglas, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Etihad Airways, to lead the company. Other notable hires include Peter Bellew, the airline’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) who has previously worked at Ryanair and easyJet, as well as Malaysia Airlines, and Vincent Coste, the new Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), who worked as the CCO at Kenya Airways and Gulf Air. 

(With Inputs from Bloomberg)

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Cathay Pacific Close to Order Boeing 777-8 Freighters for Partial Cargo Fleet Renewal

Radhika Bansal

30 May 2023

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd is close to placing an order worth around USD 2 billion for Boeing 777-8F freighters as the Hong Kong carrier embarks on the partial renewal of a fleet of dedicated 747 cargo jets. The selection follows a hard-fought battle for the business of one of the world's top-five freight airlines, which had been comparing the all-freight version of the future Boeing 777X jet family with an upcoming cargo model of the existing Airbus A350.

According to Reuters, Industry sources have said the competition involved an initial purchase of around half a dozen aircraft worth USD 2 billion at list prices before traditional airline discounts. Cathay Pacific currently is home to six ageing 747-400F, with an average age of 15 years; this is in addition to another 14 747-800F, which have up to ten years under their belt.

Cathay Pacific said it had no immediate announcement to make. "We continue to invest in and grow our fleet with the addition of new, state-of-the-art and fuel-efficient aircraft," a Cathay spokesperson said by email. "We have no specific updates or announcements regarding the fleet at this time.”

Boeing and Airbus declined to comment on commercial discussions. Boeing launched the 777-8F freighter with an order from Qatar Airways in January 2022, six months after Airbus launched the development of the A350 Freighter in a bid to weaken its U.S. rival's traditional grip on the market for freighters.

Cathay Pacific told analysts last November it was looking at more freighter capacity and working "actively" with planemakers to acquire some of the new freighters coming up after 2025.

Situated at the heart of pre-pandemic trade lanes, Cathay's decision on where to place bets for the next phase of its cargo development is seen as a key test for the two freighters because the airline operates underlying 777 and A350 passenger models.

Cathay Pacific is the world's fifth-largest air freight carrier and the third-largest traditional freight airline behind Qatar Airways and Emirates when specialist expresses parcel carriers FedEx and UPS are excluded, according to the latest available data from the International Air Transport Association.

Cathay Pacific's Current Fleet & Orders

Cathay Pacific currently operates a fleet of 186 aircraft, with 91 currently active. The fleet includes a variety of Airbus models such as A320ceos, A321ceos, A321NXs, A330-300s, A350-1000s, and A350-900s. The airline also operates Boeing aircraft, including Boeing 777-300s, 777-300ERs, a cargo fleet of 14 747-8Fs, and six 747-400ERF freighters.

Furthermore, Cathay Pacific has pending orders for 21 Boeing 777-9s, five Airbus A350s, and ten A321NXs. The average age of the fleet is 11.5 years, with A330s being the oldest at 15.5 years, followed by A320/321ceos at 18 years, and 777-300s at 21 years.

In March 2023, Cathay Pacific experienced a remarkable 25.3% growth in cargo volumes compared to the same period in the previous year. This expansion can be attributed to the relaxation of pandemic-related aircrew quarantine measures, which had significantly impacted cargo capacity.

Cathay Pacific has 21 Boeing 777-9 jetliners on order, worth over USD 7 billion at list prices, with deliveries initially slated to begin in 2021 and stream through to 2024. However, a series of production delays to Boeing’s 777X program (which covers the large 777-9 and the smaller but longer-range 777-8) has pushed back the 777-9’s debut to 2024, to the ongoing annoyance of many airlines.

Faced with a longer wait than expected, and combined with the economic impact of Covid-19 and Hong Kong’s extended border closure, Cathay Pacific Group Chairman Patrick Healy announced in October 2020 “the delivery of the 777-9 fleet has been postponed beyond 2025”.

(With Inputs from Reuters)

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EASA to Address Potential Fuel Tank Ignition on A320

Abhishek Nayar

30 May 2023

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is a regulatory organization in charge of guaranteeing the highest levels of aviation safety throughout the European Union (EU). It works closely with aircraft manufacturers like Airbus to identify and resolve any safety risks. EASA recently published an Airworthiness Directive (AD) addressing a specific issue with Airbus A320 series aircraft.

The Problem's History

Fuel tanks in aircraft are meticulously engineered to exclude any potential sources of ignition. However, unanticipated complications do develop from time to time, necessitating an investigation and corrective action. In this example, numerous failures of the type 8410 fuel pumps installed in Airbus A320 family aircraft prompted a deeper look. The failures were caused by the removal of one of the screws and nuts that held the gas return connector to the top of the motor housing. This precise problem, if not recognized and corrected swiftly, might represent a major risk, potentially resulting in in-tank igniting. To preserve the aircraft's safety and dependability, it is critical to properly evaluate and resolve this issue.

EASA's Findings

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published an Airworthiness Directive (AD) addressing a possible ignition source in all Airbus A320 family aircraft's fuel tanks. This directive is the result of several failures of type 8410 fuel pumps, notably those with the component number (P/N) 568-1-27202-005. According to EASA's investigations, the failure of these pumps was caused by the unscrewing of one of the two screws and nuts that held the gas return connector to the top of the motor housing. If left undiscovered and untreated, this situation has the potential to become an in-tank ignition source, compromising the structural and system integrity of the aircraft. Following the pump failure reports, an additional three ADs were issued, all of which were supplanted by the latest directive, issued on May 25, 2023, mandating operators to repair malfunctioning fuel pumps on their A320 family aircraft following inspections. Pump A (P/N 568-1-27202-001, P/N 568-1-27202-002, or P/N 568-1-27202-005) or Pump B (P/N 568-1-27202-02R) were the two distinct pumps established by EASA. Three previous instructions addressed the potentially hazardous circumstances associated with pump A. The safety regulator is now addressing the dangerous state of pump B.

Impact on Safety

In the aviation sector, safety is of the utmost significance. Any possible threats to the safety of passengers, crew, and aircraft must be addressed quickly and properly. The implications of in-tank igniting can be severe, jeopardising the aircraft's structural integrity and system operation. It is critical to address this specific issue in order to avoid any potential in-tank ignition events. EASA and Airbus hope to assure the continued safety of Airbus A320 family aircraft by identifying and fixing the issue. These proactive efforts, together with a common commitment to safety, strengthen passengers' and operators' trust in the aviation sector.

Operator’s Response

To solve the problem, airlines operating the Airbus A320 series will need to check pump B. According to Airbus Alert Operator Transmission (AOT) A28N010-22-00R1, Group 1 aircraft (A319s and A320s lacking the A321's centre fuel transfer system, as well as all A318s) require a check of pump B in the centre fuel tank at positions FIN 37QA and 38QA. Group 2 aircraft, which include A319s and A320s equipped with the A321's centre fuel transfer system, as well as all A321s, undergo AOT-mandated inspections of pump B in the wing fuel tank's FIN 21QA, 22QA, 25QA, and 26QA. If any inconsistencies are discovered, operators must replace the fuel pump before the next flight. Otherwise, after an examination, airlines must replace pump B in the aforementioned areas within 4,000 flight hours (FH). Finally, EASA has barred airlines operating the Airbus A320 aircraft family from installing pump B in any of the centre fuel tank or wing fuel tank locations. The AD applies to all Airbus A320ceo and A320neo aircraft, from the A318 to the A321neo, and goes into effect on June 8, 2023. According to EASA, this is an interim AD, and more action may be taken at a later date.

Communication and Collaboration

The investigation and resolution of aviation safety concerns require a high degree of teamwork and communication. EASA, for example, collaborates closely with aircraft manufacturers to identify possible hazards and create suitable solutions. The industry can improve aviation safety by sharing knowledge, insights, and best practices. EASA is critical to upholding European safety standards. It monitors aircraft performance on a continuous basis, examines events and failures, and offers directions to mitigate identified hazards. Through its activities, EASA guarantees that safety remains the top priority for all aviation stakeholders.


The European Union Aviation Safety Agency's Airworthiness Directive on the possible ignition source in the fuel tanks of Airbus A320 family aircraft emphasizes the agency’s commitment to aviation safety. By properly studying the issue and acting quickly, EASA hopes to avoid in-tank igniting accidents that might jeopardize the structural and system integrity of the aircraft. The collaboration between EASA and Airbus emphasizes the need to work together to address possible risks and maintain the highest safety requirements. Passengers and operators may have confidence in the aviation industry's continued commitment to their safety. The quick detection and treatment of such issues ensures that Airbus A320 family aircraft continue to be safe and dependable for all those who rely on air travel.

With Inputs from AeroTime

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FAA Issues Airworthiness Directive for B777 Horizontal Stabilizer

Abhishek Nayar

30 May 2023

As the regulatory body in charge of safeguarding the safety of civil aviation in the United States, the FAA releases airworthiness directives on a regular basis to address possible safety hazards in aircraft. These guidelines are critical for ensuring the safety of many aircraft models, notably the widely used Boeing 777.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Overview

The Federal Aviation Administration, a section of the United States Department of Transportation, is in charge of civil aviation regulation and control in the United States. The FAA's principal goal is to assure the national airspace system's safety and efficiency. The FAA establishes and enforces strict standards to ensure aircraft airworthiness and passenger safety through significant study, legislation, and inspections.

The Importance of the Boeing 777 in the Aviation Industry

The Boeing 777 is a well-known commercial aircraft known for its dependability, efficiency, and long-range capabilities. It has acquired great acceptance among airlines worldwide, allowing them to perform long-distance flights while giving customers a comfortable experience. The Boeing 777's safety and reliability have been critical elements in its success, making it a preferred choice for many airline operators.

Understanding Horizontal Stabilizers and Their Importance

The horizontal stabilizer, positioned near the tail portion of an aircraft, is an important component of the empennage. It is critical for maintaining the aircraft's stability and balance while in flight. The horizontal stabiliser aids in the management of the airplane's pitch, or nose-up/nose-down movement. The horizontal stabilizer must perform properly for safe and controlled flight operations.

The Cracking Issue in the STA 2370 Pivot Bulkhead Forward Outer Chord

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a critical airworthiness regulation to ensure the safety of Boeing 777 aircraft. This guideline, which is slated to go into effect on June 30th, requires all airline operators to undergo examinations on their 777s to detect and treat any cracking concerns that might result in the loss of the aircraft's horizontal stabilizer. The FAA's airworthiness directive for the Boeing 777 tackles the specific risk of probable cracking in the forward outer chord of the STA 2370 pivot bulkhead. The pivot bulkhead connects the horizontal stabilizer to the fuselage. The cracking in the STA 2370 pivot bulkhead forward outer chord might lead to the severing of the pivot bulkhead outer chord if it goes unnoticed and ignored. This would result in a loss of control over the horizontal stabilizer, which would jeopardize the aircraft's stability and controllability. Such a circumstance poses a serious risk to the plane's and its passengers' safety.

The Boeing 777 Airworthiness Directive Issued by the FAA

Recognizing the urgency of resolving the cracking issue as soon as possible, the FAA issued an airworthiness regulation for the Boeing 777. All airline operators operating Boeing 777 aircraft must undertake rigorous inspections to detect any cracking in the STA 2370 pivot bulkhead front outer chord. The FAA's proactive strategy attempts to reduce the probability of a catastrophic horizontal stabilizer breakdown and assure the aircraft's ongoing safe operation. To demonstrate the magnitude of the impact of this airworthiness directive, estimates reveal that there are presently more than 220 Boeing 777s registered in the United States, with over 1,600 produced globally since 1994. United Airlines is the largest operator in the United States, with 96 Boeing 777s in its fleet (37 777-200s, 55 777-200ERs, and 22 777-300ERs). Emirates has the largest 777 fleet in the world, with 10 777-200LRs, 11 777Fs, and a whopping 124 777-300ERs. The inspection required under the directive entails performing repetitive, detailed, and high-frequency eddy current inspections for cracking of the pivot bulkhead and longeron fitting. The inspections were initially recommended by Boeing in an April 2022 service advisory and were reiterated this week by the FAA's airworthiness directive.

Impact on Passenger Safety and Airline Operations

The introduction of the airworthiness directive will undoubtedly have an impact on airline operations, perhaps causing temporary interruptions as inspections and essential repairs are completed. These precautions, however, are necessary to guarantee the safety and integrity of the Boeing 777 fleet. Airlines prioritize passenger safety above all else, and the temporary inconveniences caused by these checks demonstrate their dedication to maintaining the highest safety standards. With inspections predicted to cost around $4,300, airlines face a huge financial outlay to examine all of their 777s. If repair work is required after the inspection, the cost rises to more than $40,000 per side of the aircraft.

When the operational inconvenience of having an aircraft out of service for the inspection is factored in, the impact quickly increases. Air France, for example, has stated that each aircraft may be grounded for up to three weeks while the repairs are carried out. The carrier further stated that the job would require specialized instruments that were not readily available. Meanwhile, United Airlines requested that the directive enable operators to check both sides of the aircraft, which Boeing eventually included in its amended service advisory. The FAA has since updated the first airworthiness regulation in response to airline concerns.


The FAA's airworthiness directive for the Boeing 777 is a proactive move to assure the aircraft's safety and airworthiness. The directive intends to minimize horizontal stabilizer control loss and maintain aircraft controllability by addressing probable cracking in the STA 2370 pivot bulkhead forward outer chord. Measures are being taken to detect and minimize risks via collaborative efforts between Boeing, airlines, and regulatory authorities, confirming the aviation industry's commitment to passenger safety.

With Inputs from AeroTime