Ethiopian Airlines Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 22nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian Airlines is pushing back against recent U.S. media reports that sought to cast doubt on the pilot training standard of Africa’s oldest and best-managed airline.

In the wake of the March 10th crash of Flight ET302 — that is hauntingly similar to the tragedy involving another Boeing 737 Max 8 in Indonesia a few months prior — Ethiopian airlines has expressed its disappointment and frustration that U.S. mainstream news outlets, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, are seeking to shift blame to Ethiopia’s flag carrier and its award-winning and longstanding pilot training program. It is worth noting that Ethiopian airlines has a 75-year history as a customer of Boeing.

“Ethiopian Airlines strongly refutes all the baseless and factually incorrect allegations written in The Washington Post dated March 21, 2019,” the Airline said in a press release referring to a headline in The Post titled: Ethiopian Pilots Raised Safety Concerns Years Before Fatal Crash, Records Show. “All the allegations in the article are false defamations without any evidence, collected from unknown and unreliable sources and meant to divert attention from the global grounding of the B-737 MAX airplanes.” The Washington Post article had cited a 2015 complaint “filed before the Max 8 was in use” with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration by an unnamed Ethiopian pilot claiming dissatisfaction about an “allegedly flawed training programs and poor safety procedures.”

Ethiopian airlines responded that it: “operates with one of the highest global standards of quality and safety performances certified by all National, Regional and International regulators like the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, the FAA, EASA, IOSA and ICAO and other national regulatory authorities,” adding that “Ethiopian is one of the leading global airlines with modern fleet, high standards of infrastructure, highly automated with the latest ICT (information and communication technology) and one of the most modern operating systems.”

The airline also shared that 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” and “has invested more than half a billion dollars in infrastructure just in the last 5 years, which is not common for a typical airline.”

All B-737 MAX airplanes have since been temporarily grounded globally while investigators continue their probe on the cause of ET 302 tragic crash.

Ethiopian Airlines also criticized The New York Times for its headline that declared: Ethiopian Airlines Had a Max 8 Simulator, but Pilot on Doomed Flight Didn’t Receive Training.

“Ethiopian Airlines expresses its disappointment on the following wrong reporting of the @nytimes,” the airline answered on Twitter tagging the newspaper. “The pilots had also been made aware of, and well briefed on the Emergency Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA following the Lion Air accident.” Ethiopian Airlines emphasized that “the content of the airworthiness directive has also been well incorporated in all pilot training manuals, operational procedures and working manuals” and further noting that “the B-737 MAX full flight simulator is not designed to simulate the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) problems.”

Ethiopian Airlines had previously emphasized that the pilot in command of ET302, Captain Yared Getachew, was an experienced pilot who had accumulated 8,100 hours of flying time.

In its press statement Ethiopian airlines urged “all concerned to refrain from making uninformed, incorrect, irresponsible and misleading statements during the period of the accident investigation. International regulations require all stakeholders to wait patiently for the final result of the investigation.”


Related:
Ethiopian Airlines chief questions Max training requirements (AP)
Ethiopian Airlines was a symbol of national pride. Then disaster struck (CNN)
UPDATE: Preliminary info from flight 302 black box show ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes’ (AP)

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