Airlines

Ethiopia calls on Boeing to review its control systems and says pilots followed correct procedures

Key Points
  • A 737 Max that crashed in Ethiopia in March killed all 157 people on board.
  • Ethiopia Airlines released a statement on Twitter acknowledging the report and suggesting that it clearly showed that pilots were not to blame.
Rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday, March 11, 2019.
Mulugeta Ayene | Reuters

Ethiopia has said Boeing must review the "controllability" of the 737 MAX 8 aircraft model and that aviation authorities should verify that the flight control system was "adequately addressed" by the U.S. plane manufacturer.

A Boeing 737 Max 8 plane killed all 157 people on board on March 10 just minutes into its flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. Speaking at a press conference Thursday, the Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges outlined a preliminary report into the crash and said pilots on board had followed flight procedures given by Boeing.

Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority have suggested that the crash may have been avoided had pilots simply followed established safety procedures.

Moges outlined to reporters that the plane was deemed "airworthy" at take-off, the take-off itself was normal and the crew "performed all the procedures provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft."

The minister said the preliminary review recommended that Boeing should review the aircraft control systems of the 737 Max 8 before releasing the aircraft to operators. And that authorities should investigate if the flight control system was properly reviewed before that plane is released back to airlines.

Moges added that the investigation of the crash was not about blame but was about ensuring air safety. She said she expected a final report within a year.

Ethiopia Airlines released a statement on Twitter acknowledging the report and suggesting that it clearly showed that pilots were not to blame.

The statement read: "Despite their hard work and full compliance with the emergency procedures, it was very unfortunate that they could not recover the airplane from the persistence of nose diving."

Boeing shares were up 2 percent in thin premarket trade on Thursday morning after the initial release, but quickly lost those gains to trade flat by 5:00 a.m. ET.

Questions over the Boeing plane have arisen amid similarities with the crash of a Lion Air 737 Max plane in Indonesia last October that killed 189 people.

Following the report the FAA released a statement, noting that it was continuing to work with the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA). It added it was continuing to "work towards a full understanding of all aspects of this accident," adding that "As we learn more about the accident and findings become available, we will take appropriate action."

On Wednesday, the FAA had said it was working with NASA and international aviation regulators on a joint task force to review Boeing's fix for its 737 Max jets.

The Joint Authorities Technical Review team, or JATR, is to evaluate the automated flight control system, or MCAS, many people suspect may have caused both recent crashes.

A spokesperson for Boeing wasn't immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

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