Big coal firms combine operations

(AP) — Two of the world’s largest coal producers have announced they will combine mining operations in Wyoming and Colorado in an attempt to improve their competitiveness against natural gas and renewable energy sources.

Arch Coal and Peabody Energy are based in St. Louis and announced the joint venture on Wednesday.

It will be 66.5% owned by Peabody and 33.5% owned by Arch.

The companies say the deal requiring approval from regulators could save about $120 million annually in mostly operational costs over 10 years.

The plan involves the North Antelope Rochelle, Black Thunder, Caballo, Rawhide and Coal Creek mines in Wyoming and the West Elk and Twentymile mines in Colorado.

The mines employed about 3,300 workers in 2018.

The companies gave no guidance on future employment levels.

Pilots criticize Boeing for mistakes

(AP) — Airline union leaders and a famed former airline pilot said Wednesday that Boeing made mistakes while developing the 737 Max, and the biggest was not telling anybody about new flight-control software so that pilots could train for it.

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who landed a crippled airliner safely on the Hudson River in 2009, said he doubted that any U.S. pilots practiced handling a specific malfunction until it happened on two Max jets that crashed, killing 346 people. He said Max pilots should train for such emergencies in simulators — not just on computers, as Boeing proposes.

“We should all want pilots to experience these challenging situations for the first time in a simulator, not in flight, with passengers and crew on board,” Sullenberger said, “and reading about it on an iPad is not even close to sufficient.”

Sullenberger’s comments to the House aviation subcommittee came during the third congressional hearing on Boeing’s troubled plane, which has been grounded for three months.

The president of the pilots’ union at American Airlines said Boeing’s zeal to minimize pilot-training costs for airlines that would buy the 737 Max jet contributed to design errors and inadequate training.

Former Federal Aviation Administration chief Randy Babbitt said his old agency too readily accepted Boeing’s design changes on the Max, and pilots should have been better trained.