Boeing To Issue Software Fix For 787 ILS Approach Issue

Over the past year, there have been five incidents at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) involving Boeing 787…

Boeing To Issue Software Fix For 787 ILS Approach Issue

Over the past year, there have been five incidents at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) involving Boeing 787 aircraft descending below safe minimum altitude. These occurrences took place after the aircraft failed to capture the localizer during landing, resulting in aircraft action unexpected by air traffic control. Recently, Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department informed Simple Flying that Boeing will introduce a software fix for this recurring issue.


While not exclusive to Hong Kong’s airport, improper capture of the localizer, seems to be happening more often here. Photo: Getty Images


A basic background


For the non-pilots out there, during normal arrivals, aircraft will “capture” and follow the localizer signal (a radio signal) of the instrument landing system (ILS) at the airport. Upon doing so, it assists pilots in aligning with the extended centreline of the arrival runway. This system and the signals it uses can be used to autoland an aircraft under the right conditions.

However, aircraft may sometimes fail to capture the localizer signal on their approach or end up capturing a false signal. This can lead to the aircraft reacting in ways that are unexpected by air traffic control.


An Air Canada Boeing 787 was the most recent aircraft to be involved in an incident of this nature. This took place on April 21st. Photo: Air Canada.


In the case of aircraft arriving at Hong Kong International, the airport’s surrounding terrain is believed to play a part in these false or failed signal captures. Furthermore, Hong Kong Aeronautical Information Services’ (AIS) believes that interference is coming from aircraft taxiing in the vicinity, as stated on their website:


10.6 Pilots are warned that during ILS CAT I operations RWY 07R and RWY 25L GP signals may be liable to interference from aircraft taxiing in the vicinity of the GP aerial. Pilots should therefore closely monitor their ILS approach profile and rate of descent.

HKIA and the 787


The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD) tells Simple Flying that a bulletin has been issued by Boeing, showing that aircraft operators reported “failure to properly capture the localizer.” As such, Boeing believes it has determined the root cause and will introduce a software fix to the 787 to “rectify the localizer capture anomaly.”

The HKCAD adds that since the failure can take place at any airport, a bulletin has gone out with operating instructions to 787 flight crews for handling such situations before completing the software fix.


Ethiopian 787
Ethiopian Airlines reported a ‘loss of control’ on ILS approach last year – July 2019. Photo: Boeing


Simple Flying reached out to Boeing to get more details on the software fix. However, due to the publishing time and date of this article, the company was unable to respond before the time of release. Of course, we will update this article should a response be received.

Hopefully, once released and installed, this software fix will mean that we see fewer false-captures at HKIA leading to aircraft descending below the safe minimum altitude. With many aircraft grounded around the world at this time, it may be the optimum period for Boeing to get this update out to its customers.

If you’ve been following this story with us, let us know your thoughts on this most recent development! Will Boeing’s update finally end these incidents at HKIA? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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United Airlines Further Reduces Summer International Schedule

Earlier today, United Airlines shared additional route cuts for the summer. The air carrier’s schedule shows that the…

United Airlines Further Reduces Summer International Schedule

Earlier today, United Airlines shared additional route cuts for the summer. The air carrier’s schedule shows that the airline will drop a further 20 routes on top of those that were announced over the previous few weeks. Many seasonal routes to Europe will not continue until at least the end of October. United Airlines is already operating a shortened schedule through May and June.

United Airlines will cut some of its usual routes to Europe, South America, and over the Pacific for summer. Photo: Getty Images

20 routes chopped from the summer schedule

United Airlines has dropped 20 additional routes from its usual summer schedule owing to the coronavirus. At the moment, the airline is operating a drastically reduced route with no likelihood of things improving enough in the next few months to support select routes. United has eradicated the majority of its seasonal routes right through October. However, it will phase in a select few at the start of September.

United will remove some seasonal routes to nine countries until 23rd October 2020. Countries with affected destinations are as follows:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom.

However, some routes to these countries will be stopped for a shorter period. For example, flight UA900 and UA930 between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and London Heathrow (LHR) will be suspended until 23rd October. However, two flights will operate to LHR from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and three from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) after 7th September 2020.

Some destinations will go ahead from select US airports. Photo: Great Circle Mapper

United adds to weeks of route cuts

Today’s announcement is just one in a string of route cuts that the airline has had to make on its summer schedule. On 24th April, it announced 12 route cuts to destinations in Europe and South America. These included a flight to Arturo Merino Benítez Airport in Santiago, Chile (SCL) from George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston (IAH), and to Porto, Portugal (OPO), from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

Earlier than that, on 20th April, Live and Lets Fly reported that the airline had cut five summer routes. The week before, it had cut four.

2 United Aircraft
United is operating just 10% of its regular schedule. Photo: Bill Abbott via Flickr

United is feeling out the market

In an earnings call for the first quarter of 2020, the airline made it clear that its load factor was not what it once was. President of United Airlines Scott Kirby said:

“Our schedule is down 90%. And we plan for it to stay at that level until we begin to see demand recover.”

In May, United will operate flights to just four destinations on the other side of the Atlantic from three American airports. These routes are as follows:

  • Chicago – London
  • New York – Amsterdam
  • New York – Frankfurt
  • New York – London
  • New York – Tel Aviv
  • Washington Dulles – Frankfurt.

Making schedule cuts early ensures that United is not out of pocket when it comes to canceling routes and issuing refunds. However, making route cuts is not the only way that the airline could save funds.

UA Flight attendants
United will look to other areas of its business to save cash. Photo: United Airlines

Speaking in the earnings call, Scott Kirby said:

“Our responsibility to our employees, our customers, and our shareholders is to make sure that United is here for the long-haul and provides as many good jobs as possible to our people…we will make the hard decisions that are required to make sure United survives, is successful and has the [best] jobs possible for our people.”

It seems that for now, these are the last of United’s route cuts. We contacted the airline to see if it would be making further adjustments to its summer schedule, but it was unavailable to comment at the time of publication.

What’s your take on this story? Let us know in the comments. 

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