737 Max grounding hits Boeing and other firms

The tragic crashes involving the 737 Max jet are continuing to have a severe impact on Boeing and other firms involved in the aviation industry.

SSP owns Upper Crust

Aviation manufacturer Boeing is booking a £3.9bn charge to cover possible compensation to airlines that have cancelled thousands of flights since the 737 Max jet was grounded after two deadly accidents.

Meanwhile, the owner of Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza has revealed that sales have been hit by the continued grounding of Boeing's Max 737 planes, with passengers being moved away from terminals.

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The planes were grounded worldwide in March by airlines and regulators following the crashes amid concerns over safety features, leading to widespread disruption.

Upper Crust owner SSP, which also operates travel sites for Burger King and recently bought Jamie's Italian restaurant at Gatwick Airport, said overall sales rose 9 per cent in the three months to June 30 with like-for-like revenues up 2 per cent.

SSP said the US and Canada were particularly hard-hit by the Boeing impact.

Boeing raised its estimate of Max production costs by £1.3bn because production will be curtailed for longer than expected.

Boeing is still working on fixing flight-control software that appeared to play a role in crashes that killed 346 people off the coast of Indonesia and in Ethiopia. The company has suspended deliveries of new jets.

The £3.9bn charge does not include the amount that Boeing may have to pay out in the dozens of lawsuits filed by families of crash victims.

This week the company hired a victims-compensation expert to oversee a relief fund for families, which the company said was separate from the lawsuits.

Boeing chairman and chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said: "The Max grounding presents significant headwinds and the financial impact recognised this quarter reflects the current challenges and helps to address future financial risks."

The plane's return has been pushed back several times, most recently after Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilots found a new flaw while testing Boeing software changes in a flight simulator.