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Ethiopian Airlines to resume Boeing 737 Max flights next week

By Patrick Alushula | Jan 26th 2022 | 2 min read
By Patrick Alushula | January 26th 2022

This photo taken Monday, February 11, 2019 shows an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 parked at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.[AP Photo, Ben Curtis]

Ethiopian Airlines will next Tuesday return its Boeing B737 Max fleet into service, almost three years after a crash that claimed 157 people including 32 Kenyans.

The airline said resumption of the model comes after “months of rigorous monitoring and painstaking preparation” with the first passenger flight scheduled for February 1.

The decision comes on the back of regulators and other authorities including the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority having recertified the plane type for commercial service. Ethiopian Airlines has reassured its customers, stating that 36 airlines have returned the aircraft to commercial service, covering over 329,911 revenue flights and more than 820,040 total flight hours.

“As a safety-first airline, we had promised that we would be among the last carriers to return this aircraft breed to the skies,” said the airline in a statement.

Eyes will be on the route that the airline will pick for the trip after the crash that has left many Kenyan families struggling for closure.  

Boeing, the manufacturer of the plane, in November last year accepted responsibility for Ethiopian Airways Flight 302 that lost control in March 2019 shortly after takeoff in Addis Ababa and crashed, killing all passengers. The B737 Max has since undergone design modification and a rigorous recertification process that lasted for over 20 months.

Ethiopian Airlines told customers it was “fully prepared” to take the modified model back to the skies, joining other countries that have done so.

“We have been closely monitoring the design modification work and the entire process, and we have made sure that our pilots, engineers, aircraft technicians and cabin crew are confident about the safety of the fleet type,” said the airline.

Boeing’s November admission also opened the way for families outside the US to seek compensation through the US courts. The aircraft maker hopes this will make the process easier and result in lower payments.

A Kenyan family that lost kin in the crash filed a suit against Boeing in April 2019 for allegedly prioritising profits at the expense of passengers’ safety.

Husain Law & Associates, a Texas-based law firm filed the suit on behalf of the family in conjunction with Nairobi-based Lesinko Njoroge & Gathogo Advocates, and Kabau & Associates Advocates.

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