Ethiopian Airlines CEO: 'I cannot fully say' airline will fly Boeing 737 Max again
The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines told NBC News he’s not sure if the company will ever fly the Boeing 737 Max aircraft again after a crash that left 157 dead earlier this year.
“If we fly them again, we’ll be the last airline to fly them again,” Tewolde Gebremariam said on an episode of “NBC Nightly News” set to air Monday evening.
“At this stage, I cannot fully say that the airplane will fly back on Ethiopian Airlines. It may if we are fully convinced and if we are able to convince our pilots, if we are ever to convince our traveling public,” he added.
“Because, you know, other airlines have grounded the airplane, but in our case beyond grounding the airplane, we had this tragic accident just a couple of months ago. So it takes a lot of efforts to convince everybody that the airplane is safe,” he said. “But beyond that, I think we have to convince ourselves and we want to do that.”
The Ethiopian Airlines crash, along with a Lion Air crash in Indonesia last year that killed 189 people and involved the same model aircraft, prompted many nations, including the U.S., to ground the Boeing 737 Max plane.
Earlier this month Boeing announced the company knew an alert on its 737 Max aircrafts did not meet alert requirements but determined it “did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation” and failed to notify the FAA until after the Lion Air crash.
Boeing has made software changes on the aircraft and offered additional training for pilots on its new stabilization system as it seeks to have the aircraft recertified for air travel.