Might Boeing’s security troubles affect Ethiopian Airways relationship?

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US aviation manufacturing big Boeing is once more going through questions over the protection of its plane after one in all its 737 Max 9 planes operated by Alaska Airways misplaced a part of its fuselage mid-flight throughout a journey from Portland to Ontario final week, in a growth that might have implications for Ethiopian Airways, one in all Boeing’s most important companions in Africa.

In November final 12 months, Ethiopian Airways introduced it had agreed to order eleven 787 Dreamliner and twenty 737 MAX planes from Boeing, with the choice of buying extra of each fashions at a later date, in what’s the largest-ever buy of Boeing planes from an airline in Africa. Ethiopian Airways already operates the most important Dreamliner fleet in Africa.

On the time, Ethiopian Airways was eager to stress the closeness of its relationship with Boeing, which had come beneath scrutiny following the Flight 302 catastrophe in March 2019, Ethiopia’s deadliest plane accident. This was a crash involving a Boeing 737 Max 8 that malfunctioned shortly after take-off in Addis Ababa, killing all 157 individuals onboard, and resulting in a two-year worldwide grounding of the mannequin.

When approached by African Enterprise, Boeing identified that Ethiopian Airways doesn’t use the 737 Max 9 mannequin however referred to commitments made by its CEO Dave Calhoun. He stated that Boeing would take “all actions which can be required to make sure each subsequent airplane that strikes into the sky is actually protected and that this occasion can by no means occur.” Ethiopian Airways couldn’t be reached for remark.

When the deal was signed final 12 months, Ethiopian Airways CEO Mesfin Tesaw stated that “now we have solidified our decades-old exemplary enterprise partnership with Boeing.” He additionally added that “we imagine now we have checked and confirmed that the design defect of that plane has been totally corrected by Boeing.”

In one other signal of how robust ties between the 2 corporations have turn into, in December Boeing appointed former Ethiopian Airways vice-president Henok Teferra Scarf as the brand new managing director for Boeing Africa as a part of its plans to make use of Ethiopia as a base for wider enlargement into the African market.

‘Must be an remoted case’

Chidozie Uzoezie, aviation analyst and founding father of the African Aviation Group, tells African Enterprise that Boeing’s current difficulties must be “an remoted case with no “spill-over” impact on Ethiopian Airways,” on condition that it doesn’t use the 737 Max 9 mannequin that malfunctioned final week. Nonetheless, he says that Boeing must “put its home so as.”

“I completely haven’t any security issues relating to the present Boeing fashions operated by Ethiopian Airways,” Uzoezie says.

“For lengthy haul, Ethiopian Airways operates the Boeing 777 and the 787, that are two of the world’s most profitable widebody plane. For brief haul, the airline operates the Boeing 737 NG/MAX, which have spectacular security data.”

“Being essentially the most scrutinised plane mannequin on the earth [following the Flight 302 disaster], the Boeing 737 MAX 8 is now one of many most secure plane fashions within the sky in the present day,” he provides.

For these causes, Uzoezie believes that Ethiopian Airways will proceed to trust in Boeing regardless of the questions being raised over the protection of one other mannequin.

“Ethiopian Airways is a longstanding Boeing buyer. Each have loved a helpful enterprise relationship for a lot of a long time,” he says. “I don’t assume that the current MAX 9 problem will negatively affect the enterprise relationship.”

“Nevertheless, I’d wish to assume that the protection of passengers and crew is Ethiopian Airways’ high precedence – so if Boeing fails to place its home so as with respect to protected and dependable merchandise, Ethiopian Airways could also be pressured to look elsewhere when it comes to fleet.”


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