Indonesia resumes Boeing 737 Max flights, Ethiopian Airlines to follow suit
The move comes after recertification by several aviation regulatory bodies, and the aircraft's return to service in many countries now
In a significant development, the Indonesian government has recently lifted the ban on the Boeing 737 MAX, three years after a deadly crash on one of the aircraft operated by Indonesian airline Lion Air led to the loss of all 189 people aboard.
The Boeing 737 MAX which was one of the best selling variants of Boeing was grounded after it was involved in two fatal crashes within a span of six months including the Lion Air flight which took off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport near Jakarta in October 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March 2019, reportedly owing to Boeing's faulty design of the jet's anti-stall system. The Ethiopian Airlines aircraft crashed minutes after its take-off from Addis Ababa near the town of Bishoftu killing all 157 people on board. Post these tragedies, many governments around the world had taken to the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX.
In a statement, the Ministry of Transportation said that "after going through the process of investigation", it was preparing to lift the operational ban on the aircraft. The Indonesian Transport ministry said that the lifting of the ban would be 'effective immediately' and that it follows regulators' check of changes made to the aircraft's systems.
Further Novie Riyanto, director-general of civil aviation, said in the statement. "Until now, several countries have allowed the operation of the 737 Max aircraft again. Following this development, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is also conducting preparations to issue a letter lifting the operating ban on 737 Max aircraft." The Directorate General of Civil Aviation operates under the administration of the Ministry of Transportation.
Incidentally, on Monday the Ethiopian Airlines also said that it will resume such flights from February. This comes close on the heels of several countries lifting bans on the aircraft and of it returning to service in the US, Brazil, Canada, and Europe. The first flight of the B737 MAX's return to Ethiopian Airlines is expected to take place on February 1, 2022.
Earlier this week, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam issued a statement on the development and said, "Safety is our topmost priority at Ethiopian Airlines and it guides every decision we make and all actions we take. It is in line with this guiding principle that we are now returning the B737 MAX to service not only after the recertification by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), EASA of Europe, Transport Canada, CAAC, ECAA, and other regulatory bodies but also after the return to service by more than 34 airlines around the world."
He added, "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 and we have ensured that our pilots, engineers, aircraft technicians, cabin crew are confident on the safety of the fleet. The airplane model has accumulated more than 275,000 commercial flights since the resumption of B737 MAX operation a year ago."