Ethiopian Airlines group chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam has pledged “full and transparent” co-operation with the inquiry into the fatal loss of a Boeing 737 Max 8, and has underscored the airline’s faith in the US airframer.
Investigators are still trying to understand the circumstances of the 10 March accident involving flight ET302 and whether it is directly linked to the Lion Air Max 8 crash last October.
While Gebremariam says that “many questions” about the 737 Max “remain without answers”, and that he “fully” supports the worldwide grounding of the type, he stresses the importance of the US manufacturer’s partnership with Ethiopian.
“Let me be clear,” he says. “Ethiopian Airlines believes in Boeing.”
Gebremariam reiterates the claim that the carrier’s pilots were “fully trained” regarding the procedures bulletin issued after the Lion Air accident.
He adds that the differences training between the airline’s earlier 737 variants and the 737 Max require computer-based training, but that the airline “went beyond that”.
Ethiopian has a 737 Max full-flight simulator, and Gebremariam states: “Our pilots who fly the new model were trained on all appropriate simulators.”
“The crews were well-trained on this aircraft,” he insists.
Ethiopian has a fleet of some 20 737-700s and -800s plus long-haul Boeing types including the 767-300ER, 787-8 and -9, and the 777-200LR, -300ER and 777F.
“They have been a partner of ours for many years,” says Gebremariam. “More than two-thirds of our fleet is Boeing.”
He says the airline will work with Boeing and investigators in Ethiopia, the USA and elsewhere to help determine the cause of the Max accident, and states that the airline and the airframer will “continue to be linked well into the future”.