Ethiopian Airlines has revealed that it plans to bring the Boeing 737 MAX back into service next February. The airline previously said it would be the last to bring the type back. The fatal crash of one of its Boeing 737 MAXs ultimately led to the type’s worldwide grounding.
Over the past year, airlines have slowly been bringing the Boeing 737 MAX back into certification, from Aeromexico to WestJet. The aircraft has already clocked an impressive number of flights, with an increasing number of global aviation authorities recertifying the type. Meanwhile, airlines such as flydubai are seeing no passenger resistance to the type.
Ethiopian will bring the MAX back
In a post on its Facebook page, Ethiopian Airlines today revealed that it has put in motion plans to bring the Boeing 737 MAX back into the active fleet from February. The airline expects to operate its first post-grounding flight with the type on February 1st, 2022.
Commenting on the decision to bring the type back, the airline’s CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam, remarked,
“Safety is our top most priority at Ethiopian Airlines and it guides every decision we make… in line with this guiding principle that we are now returning the B737 MAX to service…
“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…”
A decisive vote of confidence for the type
The fact that Ethiopian Airlines is now deciding to resume Boeing 737 MAX flights is a decisive vote of confidence for the type. As mentioned, Ethiopian said it would be one of the last to bring the jet back, and for a good reason.
The crash of an Ethiopian Boeing 737 MAX ultimately led to the type’s worldwide grounding. After 157 lives were lost in the crash of ET302, many quickly drew similarities with the tragic crash of Lion Air flight 610, where 189 lives were lost.
The crash of ET302 is Ethiopian Airlines’ deadliest accident and the deadliest accident to occur in Ethiopia. With this in mind, it isn’t a surprise that Ethiopian Airlines hasn’t rushed to bring the MAX back. But it is also one of the most significant votes of confidence possible for the jet.
Ethiopian was very clear after the type’s grounding that the airline wasn’t going to rush to bring the type back if they did that at all. The fact that they are now taking this action shows that if Ethiopian Airlines is confident of the aircraft, anybody should be.
According to ch-aviation.com, Ethiopian Airlines currently has four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, with a further 25 on order from Boeing according to the manufacturer’s order books.
What do you make of Ethiopian Airlines’ decision to bring the MAX back? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.