Ethiopian grounds B737-800MAX fleet after crash
ETHIOPIAN Airlines has decided to ground all of its B737-800MAX fleet until further notice after 149 passengers and eight crew members perished when one of its B737s bound for Kenya crashed shortly after taking off, writes Thelma Etim.
“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as a safety precaution,” explains the flag carrier in an official corporate statement.
The digital flight data recorder (black box) and cockpit voice recorder of flight ET 302 have now been recovered, confirms the airline.
The B737-800MAX, registered ET- AVJ, departed at 08:38 local time on 10 March from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport but lost contact six minutes later at 08:44.
There were 35 different nationalities on board the aircraft, which came down around the town of Bishoftu (formerly known as Debre Zeit), located to the south east of Addis Ababa.
The captain has been named as Yared Getachew who had flown more than 8,000 hours in his career as a pilot. His first officer Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur had accrued 200 hours of flying experience.
‘Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane’
At a press conference held on 10 March, Tewolde GebreMariam, chief executive of the Ethiopian Airlines Group, who visited the crash site, stated: “It is too early to speculate the cause of the accident and further investigation will be carried out to find out the cause of the accident in collaboration with all stakeholders, including the aircraft manufacturer Boeing, the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and other international entities, to maintain the international standard and information will be provided once the cause is identified.
“Ethiopian Airlines will provide all the necessary support to the families of the victims,” he added.
The B737-800MAX aircraft, which had flown back to Addis Ababa from Johannesburg on Sunday morning ahead of its flight to Nairobi, “underwent a rigorous first check maintenance on February 4, 2019,” insisted the airline.
“Ethiopian Airlines Group expresses its profound sorrow and deepest condolences to the families of the victims and their loved ones on the tragic plane accident.”
Commenting on the tragic incident, American aircraft manufacturer Boeing, says it is “closely monitoring the situation”.
“Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a B737-800MAX airplane. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team.”
“A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and the US National Transportation Safety Board,” adds the statement
Below is a list, supplied by Ethiopian Airlines, of the nationalities of the passengers aboard the ill-fated aircraft: