0 min left

Nearly Three Years After Fatal Crash, Ethiopian Airlines Re-Introduces 737 MAX

One of the two airlines tied to the Boeing 737 MAX fatal crashes will renew services on the airframes, starting with a ceremonial flight for airline executives and the press.
On March 10, 2019, the world was changed forever after Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, operated with a Boeing 737 MAX 8, crashed within minutes of departure, killing all 157 onboard. Almost instantly, every MAX in an airline fleet was immediately grounded, while the manufacturer and regulators sought answers.


Nearly three years later, Africa’s top airline as rated by Skytrax is bringing their fleet of MAX aircraft back into service. On social media, the company announced the re-introduction of the airframes into the carrier, marked by a ceremonial flight.


Ethiopian Brings Back 737 MAX After Re-Certification and Re-Introduction by 36 Airlines

Joining airline leaders on the flight were executives from Boeing, government officials, ambassadors from other nations and a selection of journalists and airline customers. The relaunch was celebrated onboard with a cake cutting ceremony.


According to FlightAware.com, the special flight took four hours to complete, departing from and landing at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD). The aircraft was delivered to Ethiopian in 2018 but was immediately affected by the worldwide grounding after the ET302 accident.



In comments to the public, Ethiopian Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam noted that safety and the accident was still relevant in their process. However, considering the scrutiny of the re-certification process and use by other carriers, the airline decided to move forward with re-integrating it into the fleet.


“Safety is the top most priority at Ethiopian Airlines and it guides every decision we make and all actions we take,” GebeMariam said in a statement. “It is in line with this guiding principle that we are now returning the B737 MAX to service not only after the recertification by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), EASA of Europe, Transport Canada, CAAC, ECAA and other regulatory bodies but also after the fleet type’s return to service by 36 airlines around the world.”


At the launch, Ethiopian was one of the biggest Boeing 737 MAX customers in the world. The company announced their first 20 orders in September 2014 and had the largest MAX fleet in Africa by July 2018.


Lion Air Continues to Ground 737 MAX

With the launch, Ethiopian is the only carrier to bring back the 737 MAX after a fatal accident. Indonesia’s Lion Air continues to ground their 737 MAX airframe, even though regulators in the country re-certified the type for commercial operations.


The group representing the families of Ethiopian Flight 302 – which testified against the 737 MAX recertification in front of Congress in June 2020 – have not commented on the airline’s decision.


Feature image courtesy: Ethiopian Airlines via Facebook