Ethiopian Airlines Group, Africa’s largest carrier, will resume flying Boeing’s 737 Max jets from Feb. 1, three years after a crash that killed 157 people, triggering a world-wide grounding of the aircraft.
The recertification by regulators in the U.S. and Europe provides confidence to put the plane back into service, Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam said in a statement posted on the Ethiopian Airlines Facebook page. The carrier has four Max jets.
“We have taken enough time to monitor the design modification work,” Tewolde said. 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.”
Many other airlines already have the model back in service. China was the latest to approve the resumption of the Max jets for commercial flights.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa in March 2019, five months after a similar incident in Indonesia, triggering a grounding of the Max worldwide. Boeing reached a $2.5 billion agreement earlier this year to settle a criminal charge that it defrauded the U.S. government by concealing information about the jet. That included almost $1.8 billion to reimburse Max customers.
Tewolde in September said Ethiopian Airlines had reached a separate settlement with Boeing.