Boeing: three years after the crash, Ethiopian Airlines resumes flights with a 737 MAX

It is a significant date. Ethiopian Airlines is due to resume flights with the Boeing 737 MAX on Tuesday, February 1, a first since the crash which killed 157 people nearly three years ago and resulted in the grounding of this plane across the world. In March 2019, Flight 302 bound for Nairobi, operated by the Ethiopian national carrier, crashed in a field southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, six minutes after takeoff, due to faulty software.

The accident triggered the worst crisis in the history of the American aircraft manufacturer, following another accident a few months later, that of a Lion Air aircraft in Indonesia in October 2018 (189 dead). Ethiopian Airlines, the economic jewel of Africa’s second most populous country, has long said it will be the last airline to resume flights with the aircraft. In a statement, the carrier said the move comes after “thorough re-certification” by regulators in the United States, European Union, China and Ethiopia.

“Turn the page”

Ethiopian Airlines, which had four 737 MAXs at the time of the crash, provided a list of 35 other airlines currently using the plane. “Our pilots, engineers, aircraft technicians and crew are fully prepared to fly the B737 MAX again and we look forward to welcoming you on board.” Waiting that long was “really commendable”, said Yeshiwas Fentahun, who chaired a pilots association in 2019 but has since quit the carrier.

The death of the crew, which included the company’s youngest pilot, Yared Getachew, was traumatic for all employees, he said. “Some pilots were very close to the people who died in the accident and it’s very difficult to know if everyone has moved on,” he added. “But I think it’s a decent amount of time for most of us to move on from that experience.”

The victims of the Flight 302 crash, the worst in Ethiopia’s history, hailed from more than 30 countries. Boeing made a deal with their families and admitted responsibility for the crash, according to legal documents filed in November with a court in Chicago, where it is headquartered. The documents do not mention sums but the families of the victims will be able to take steps to obtain compensation in the American courts.

Author Image

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.