The Group Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremarian has said the carrier may opt for the Airbus A320 or A220 aircraft for its operations, jettisoning the Boeing 737 Max if negotiations on compensation for the ill-fated crash of one of its aircraft with the aircraft manufacturer fails.
In an interview with aviationweek.com, Gebremarian said the airline might consider operating the 737 Max again if the aircraft meets certain factors outline by Ethiopian, noting even if the aircraft is cleared to operate by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it still has to get clearance from its pilots and engineers.
He said: “Our position has not changed about the 737 Max because we had a very terrible accident. So, we’ll be the last one to fly the airplane. If we fly the airplane again, because the decision to fly the airplane depends on many factors for Ethiopian Airlines. Number one, it depends on the compensation that we are discussing with Boeing. We have not yet reached an agreement, so that is a very, very important and a deciding factor, whether we will fly the airplane or not, hopefully we will finalize that.
“The second one is, we understand the FAA is going to clear it, Canada and Europe is going to clear it. And then once it is cleared, we’ll have to talk to our pilots, going to the airplane, to see the airplane. If it has correctly or adequately addressed all the problems, then we need to hear that from our pilots although the airplane is certified.
“But again, we need to hear that from our pilots and our engineers, because we are an airline, a victim of the accident, as you know. The third factor is how do we go about to the next stage? Meaning we have four of them grounded here, and we have more than 25 to 30 airplanes on order. So the order now needs to restructure because of the delay, so that by itself is a long discussion with Boeing. So because of these factors that I mentioned, we have not yet decided to fly the airplane.
“Again, that depends on the outcome of the discussion on the 737. If we agree, if all our issues that I mentioned before are adequately addressed by Boeing, and we decide to continue with the max, then we don’t need any other narrow body aircraft. If not, yes, we will need to look at the Airbus A320 or the A220, as you know, the previous CSeries airplanes, and so on.