As the investigation continues into the crash of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft continues shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines has insisted that the pilot of the plane completed the Boeing recommended and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States-approved differences training.
This is as some stakeholders in the Nigerian aviation industry feared that the report from the black boxes may be tampered with by unscrupulous elements involved in downloading the report.
In a statement to journalists, Ethiopian Airlines said the pilot successfully converted from the B737NG aircraft to the B737 MAX aircraft before the phase in one of the B737-8 MAX to the Ethiopian operation.
The airline also said the pilots on the aircraft brand were made aware and well-briefed on the Emergency Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA, following the Lion Air accident of October 29, 2018.
It added: “The content of the airworthiness directive has also been well-incorporated in all pilot training manuals, operational procedures and working manuals. The B737 MAX full flight simulator is not designed to simulate the MCAS system problems.”
A US medium had alleged that the pilot of the ill-fated ET B737 MAX was not trained on the aircraft by the airline before flying it. The medium also attributed the crash to the poor judgment of the pilot, an accusation Ethiopian Airlines has debunked.
The airline, therefore, called on all concerned to refrain from making such uninformed, incorrect, irresponsible and misleading statements during the period of the accident investigation, stressing that international regulations require all stakeholders to wait patiently for the result of the investigation.
Analysts in the Nigerian aviation industry have expressed worry over the unprofessional statements emanating from the western world over the crash aircraft. Some of those who spoke to SaharaReporters feared that the outcome of the investigation may be manipulated.
Engr. Chris Amokwu of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways, said the US FAA seemed to be biased on the issue and had not displayed enough transparency so far.
Amokwu said Boeing and FAA were looking for “a fall guy”, saying that the second crash of the B737 MAX 8 was like an albatross to the two organisations.
He explained that if the crash had not happened to Lion Jet earlier, Western countries would have castigated Ethiopian Airlines and accused it of watery regulations.
He said: “It is unfortunate that some critical agencies seem to want to be bias in this crash. As educated as the western media claim to be, they are already casting aspersion on Ethiopian Airlines even when the report of the investigation is not yet out.
“Some claimed that the pilot was not trained on the aircraft brand. Where is that one done? Boeing and FAA are looking for a fall guy. They want to impose the blame on someone else, rather than face reality that their equipment was improper. This is actually the second time in the history of air crashes that attention would be focused on aircraft manufacturer and its regulatory agency, which I think is good for the system.”
Also, Ayodeji Adebayo, an analyst in the sector, decried the attempted twist of the event by western media and organisations.
He explained that Ethiopian Airlines has an excellent safety record, which speaks for it and wondered why “some want to jump the guns”, just as he called on relevant authorities to monitor the investigators to prevent manipulation.