Ethiopian Airlines has commenced reactivation of its Boeing 737 MAX fleet. The 737 MAX, which is the first of four passenger jets, has returned to the skies for the first time since the aircraft were grounded in spring 2019.
The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8, registration ET-AVI, was spotted on February 1, 2022. According to Flightradar24.com data, the jet took off from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) at 09:21 a.m. (UTC) for a two hour-long reactivation flight and returned to the airport around 11.46 a.m. (UTC).
The jet was the first of four 737 MAX passenger planes operate by the airline before the type was grounded following two fatal crashes. 346 people died when Lion Air Flight 610 crashed on October 29, 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on March 10, 2019.
The MAX reactivation follows Ethiopian Airlines’ initial schedule, which was announced by the airline in December 2021.
At the time, Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian Airlines CEO revealed that it had taken more than 20 months for the airline to regain confidence in the safety of its MAX fleet.
“We have taken enough time to monitor the design modification work and the more than 20 months of rigorous rectification process…our pilots, engineers, aircraft technicians, cabin crew are confident in the safety of the fleet,” the CEO said in a statement seen by Reuters, which was dated January 2022.
Gebremariam also noted that safety is the airline’s “topmost priority” and guides “every decision [it] makes and all actions [it] takes”.