Ethiopian Airlines plans to resume flying Boeing 737 MAX planes on its fleet starting February 1, the carrier’s chief executive said, citing confidence over the safety of the fleet.
“Safety is our top most priority at Ethiopian Airlines and it guides every decision we make and all actions we take,” Tewolde Gebremariam 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 return to service by more than 34 airlines around the world,” the statement added.
The Ethiopian carrier grounded its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets as an “extra safety precaution” following the 2019 crash of flight ET 302.
According to the OAG schedules update, Ethiopian Airlines intends to resume flying the 737 MAX 8 with services from the airline’s hub in Addis Abba, Ethiopia to Istanbul, Turkey; Khartoum, Sudan; Enugu, Nigeria; Entebbe, Uganda; Moroni, Comoros; Nos By, Madagascar; Victoria, Seychelles and Cairo.
“In line with our initially stated commitment to become among the last airlines to return the B737 MAX, we have taken enough time to monitor the design modification work and the 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,” Gebremariam noted.
Ethiopian Airlines currently has four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in its fleet, with a further 25 on order.
“Since the 737 MAX returned to service, airlines have flown nearly 240,000 flights around the world, and are conducting more than 1,300 flights every day,” Boeing said in a statement in November.
US-based carriers American, Delta and Southwest were the early carriers to put the MAX back in the skies in early 2021.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines was awarded IATA’s Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) certification in pharmaceutical logistics. CEIV Pharma is an industry-wide standard, addressing the industry’s need for more safety, security, compliance and efficiency, by the creation of a globally consistent and recognized pharmaceutical product handling certification. The airline switched to cargo, maintenance and charter operations to help soften the Covid-19 blow. As a result, this achievement certifies the airline’s expertise and efficient handling of pharmaceuticals and life science products.