Ethiopian Airlines has refuted claims written in the Washington Post in an an article dated March 21, 2019, calling the report “baseless and factually incorrect allegations”. The article titled “Ethiopian Airlines Had a Max 8 Simulator, but Pilot on Doomed Flight Didn’t Receive Training,” reported that the airline was at fault in the crash. However, Ethiopian Airlines has said its pilots had done the required training for the planes they operate.
The airline said in a statement “All the allegations in the article are false defamations with out any evidence, collected from unknown and unreliable sources and meant to divert attention from the global grounding of the B-737 MAX airplanes”.
The airline said it “has seven full flight simulators (Q-400, B-737NG, B-737 MAX, B-767, B-787, B-777 and A-350) to train its pilots and other airlines pilots. It has one of the largest and most modern Aviation Academy with training devices and technologies among the very few in the world. The Airline has invested more than half a Billion dollars in infrastructure only in the last 5 years which is not common in a typical airline”.
While the cause of the accident is yet to be revealed as investigation are still in progress, Ethiopian Airlines highlighted the grounding of all B-737 MAX airplanes since the accident as an important factor to consider. The airline said about 380 B-737 MAX airplanes are grounded all over the world including in the USA
Following the report, the airline has demanded the Washington Post to remove the article, apologize and correct the facts.
Biased reporting on African issues
The focus on apportioning blame to Ethiopian Airlines on the crash of flight ET302 by the Washington Post and New York Times leaves a bad taste in the mouth, especially when new evidence seems to suggest that Boeing has a case to answer. The New York Times, in its March 20 2019 article headlined, “Ethiopian Airlines Had a Max 8 Simulator, but Pilot on Doomed Flight Didn’t receive Training On it” continues to blame the victims of this crash, Ethiopian Airlines.
The manual for any crash or incident that takes place on the continent starts with questioning the competence of Africans, without careful consideration of the facts and context. If the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 was flown by an American or European, the headlines could have read totally differently. The shock that incoming reports show that incompetence and greed actually lies with Boeing is one that some of these Western media houses are unable to wrap their head around.
But, what if the Lion Air crash had not taken place? What would the ET302 crash be compared against? For now, huge similarities in terms of difficulties the pilots of the Lion Air crash of October 2018 experienced, and what the pilots of Ethiopian Airlines experienced seem to have a subtle narrative of Ethiopian Airlines nor its pilots are yet to be blamed.
Ethiopian Airlines expresses its disappointment on the following wrong reporting of the @nytimes titled “Ethiopian Airlines Had a Max 8 Simulator, but Pilot on Doomed Flight Didn’t Receive Training” pic.twitter.com/FsASbdm3Sv
— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 21, 2019
I question what the New York Times and Washington Post really sought to establish with the reports. Asides questioning how fast Ethiopian Airlines expanded, no one has questioned why the Boeing 737 Max became Boeing’s fastest selling plane. Why would Boeing make safety features optional for the aircraft it is producing? Bjorn Fehrm, an analyst at the aviation consultancy Leeham told the New York Times on the safety features, “They’re critical, and cost almost nothing for the airlines to install. Boeing charges for them because it can. But they’re vital for safety.”
The questions on this crash should be more focused on Boeing and its greed.