Ethiopian Airlines which lost a 737 MAX shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa International Airport on 10 March has confirmed that the airline will conduct its own independent investigation into the cause of the crash.
Airline CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said that a decision on whether or not to continue taking deliveries of the MAX depends on the solution Boeing is submitting. “Boeing is in the final stage of a software upgrade and better training which it will take it to the FAA for certification and we will see if the FAA certifies it.
“Then we will also monitor the reaction of the global aviation regulators like EASA, China and Canada aviation regulatory bodies. And then we will definitely not be the first one to return the aircraft back to the air. We will definitely be the last one. Our decision follows those developments. Right now our decision is to wait and see the progress of Boeing’s solution and also the certification by the FAA. We will watch the global aviation community’s reaction.”
GebreMariam added: “Ethiopian Airlines has been a long-time customer of Boeing, and we continue to express confidence in the company. We believe in the FAA. We hope that they will go through a rigorous recertification process. But again. Since one of the two fatal accidents occurred with our airline, we will be seriously considering our analysis.”
The CEO expressed no regrets about choosing the MAX over the Airbus A320neo. “We do not regret our decision to order the 737-8 MAX aircraft because it was the right one,” he stated. “The Boeing MAX is a very good aeroplane – its performance, economics and ease of maintenance. For us, since we have been operating the 737-800NG fleet transferring to the MAX instead of acquiring the A320neo was less costly,” he added.
The airline is currently in its quiet season but, although it has a fleet of 110 aircraft, if the MAX is not returned to service by the summer the airline may well have to consider leasing additional aircraft in order to cope with the increased holiday traffic.