AZAL drops 737 MAX orders, Lufthansa predicts delay in 777X deliveries

Seattle, Washington - Azerbaijan's national airline AZAL has scrapped a $1 billion deal signed with Boeing for ten 737 MAX jets. German flag carrier Lufthansa expects delay in the Boeing 777X program

Azerbaijan Airlines spkesperson Pasha Kesaminsy told Reuters that the decision for order cancellation was taken due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding the aircraft and safety concerns.

The Boeing 737 MAX series jets have been grounded worldwide after the second fatal crash of the type on March 10. The Ethiopian 737 MAX 8 crashed in Addis Abeba a few minutes after the takeoff. 189 people were killed in the disaster.

The accident came just five months after the Lion Air Flight 610 crash, which killed 157 people.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, EASA and other International regulators immediately ordered 737 MAX operators to ground their planes.

Boeing is expected submit a software update soon for the anti-stall system of the aircraft known as MCAS that was believed to cause both crashes.

A new safety issue related to Boeing 737s including MAX series jets

On June 3rd, Boeing said that some of its 737 jets, including 737 MAXs may have defective parts on their wings. Boeing recommended all 737 operators to check their leading edge slats on the MAX and NG (-600, -700, -800) variants of its 737 series.

Leading edge slats are an aerodynamic control surface that covers the wing from the front. According to Boeing, some of them may not meet quality standards and may require replacement.

The FAA said the issue wouldn't cause the plane to crash, but it could cause damage during flight.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will issue an airworthiness directive ordering 737 operatorrs to check and fix the faulty slat track assemblies on the wings within ten days.

The problem was discovered last week on Friday during a meeting between Boeing and its suppliers.

Should Boeing 737 MAXs fly again?

Although the American Aerospace giant is working hard to return the 737 MAXs back into service again, it continues to face increasing crticism from the public.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader said the 737 MAXs should never fly again at an aviation safety event in Washington.

“It’s not a matter of software. It’s a matter of structural design defect: the plane’s engines are too much for the traditional fuselage,” Nader said.

According to Nader, larger engines mounted to the Boeing 737 MAX is a design flaw and poses a permanent safety risk to the aircraft. The 737 MAX is a revamped version of the previous generation 737s that was first built in the 1960’s, rather than a new plane from scratch.

Lufthansa expects delay in the Boeing 777X program

On the other hand, Lufthansa, the launch operator of the Boeing's new wide-body jet, considers potential delays in the 777X deliveries. The public debut of the aircraft was postponed due to ongoing Boeing 737 MAX crisis. Boeing was planning to introduce its new wide-body jet and its ground-breaking foldable at the Paris Air Show this month, which will be held between 21-23 June.

"At the moment we are not aware of the postponement of the delivery schedule of the 777X, but as a large airline we can of course react flexibly to such situations," the German flag carrier said.

Lufthansa has 20 Boeing 777-9 on order with Boeing. Boeing 777X's first flight was scheduled for June 26.