Ethiopian Airlines Will Again Use Boeing 737 MAX

In a boost for the Boeing Co., Ethiopian Airlines says it will return to using the airplane manufacturer’s 737 MAX plane – the same model involved in two separate fatal crashes that grounded the jets for almost two years.

Africa’s largest carrier plans to resume service with the MAX on February 1, 2022, according to Bloomberg News Service.

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Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air suffered two 737 MAX crashes five months apart between October 2018 and March 2019, killing 346 passengers and crew. After the Ethiopian crash on March 10, 2019, the model was grounded worldwide, and all 387 planes in service were shuttered.

That lasted more than 21 months until the 737 MAX was recertified by the Federal Aviation Administration. The first public flight with the model was flown in December of 2020 by American Airlines.

Bloomberg noted that Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam said on the carrier’s Facebook page that he was comfortable resuming use of the plane.

“We have taken enough time to monitor the design modification work,” Tewolde wrote. With “more than 20 months of rigorous recertification process, and we have ensured that our pilots, engineers, aircraft technicians, cabin crew are confident on the safety of the fleet.”

In January of 2021, Boeing reached a $2.5 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to answer criminal charges of conspiracy to defraud the FAA since first seeking approval for the 737 MAX model. Flawed systems in the aircraft caused the two deadly crashes.

Last month, Boeing reached a settlement agreement with the families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

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