The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines says his airline might never fly the Boeing 737 MAX again after a deadly crash in March, and if it does, it will wait until other carriers use the plane first.
Tewolde Gebremariam told NBC News that Ethiopian won’t use the plane unless the airline, its pilots and passengers are convinced that it is safe.
“If we fly them again, we will be the last airline to fly them again,” he said.
Gebremariam added he couldn’t say whether the airline will ever use the Max again.
“It takes a lot of effort to convince everybody that the airplane is safe,” he said.
Nearly 400 Max jets operated by dozens of airlines remain grounded around the world while Boeing works to fix flight-control software implicated in two accidents that killed 346 people, including 157 on Ethiopian Flight 302.
Boeing’s changes are designed to reduce the software’s ability to pitch the nose of the plane down in some circumstances, and to make it easier for pilots to control.
Boeing has a backlog of about 4,600 orders for the Max and has avoided major cancellations despite the deaths of 189 people in an Oct. 29 crash of a Lion Air Max off the coast of Indonesia and the March 10 Ethiopian crash near Addis Ababa, which killed all 157 aboard.