Three years after crash, Ethiopian Airlines on Tuesday resumed flying Boeing 737 MAX plane.
Stakeholders are divided on the airline’s first flight using the model since a crash three years ago forced regulators to ground the fleet globally.
In March 2019, a flight to Nairobi crashed in a field six minutes after take-off from Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa killing all 157 passengers and the crew.
The accident followed another incident five months earlier, when the same model crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 people.
The accidents exposed a problem with a system on the plane, and the model was grounded worldwide, costing Boeing some 20 billion dollars and triggering court cases that exposed shortcomings with the certification process.
The airline would fly a demonstration flight around Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and return to Addis Ababa with journalists, diplomats and officials onboard, the airline said.
Some relatives of those killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash were angered by the decision to resume flying the 737 MAX.
“I will never fly in a MAX and certainly if I find myself booked into a MAX, I will have to cancel that flight,” said Tom Kabau, a Kenyan lawyer who lost his 29-year-old brother George in the crash.