The world’s largest aircraft manufacturer and Ethiopian Airlines long-term partner, Boeing, which has been facing backlash and a hit on its reputation and business throughout the world, has finally conceded and took responsibility for the most recent accident of B737 Max jet in Ethiopia that killed 157 people last month.
This came after a damming preliminary report from 18 Ethiopian and international investigators found the pilots followed all protocols and recommendations of the manufacturer before it nosedived mere minutes after takeoff from Bole International Airport, according to flight data and cockpit voice recorders, mirroring a similar incident with Lion Air crash that crashed in the Java Sea, 12 minutes after takeoff and killing 189 people late last year.
The report was released on Thursday by Ethiopia’s Minister of Transport, Dagmawit Moges.
“The crew preformed all procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the plane,” she told a well-attended press conference, which was held on the properties of the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA).
According to the report, the pilots followed all rules after experiencing difficulties within two minutes after takeoff as one of the two sensors began to fluctuate, indicating wrongly that the plane was stalling, while the other sensor gave conflicting information. This came about as the plane began to increase speed, becoming uncontrollable and went downward soon.
The report continued, by showing how the pilots countered that by pushing electrical switches on their control wheels that adjusted the angle of stabilizers on the tail of the plane, which had been moved by Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), “moving the stabilizers to a dangerous angle in another nose-down action” and tried to disable the entire stabilizer electrical system using the stabilizer trim cutout.
The report recommended that Boeing review its flight control system.
The head of the manufacturer, Boeing CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, was quick to react, after the preliminary report was released on Thursday, releasing a belated reaction of the accident, as the company faces a slew of lawsuits and a number of reputable airlines begin to cancel orders.
“The full details of what happened in the two accidents will be issued by the government authorities in the final reports, but, with the release of the preliminary report of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accident investigation, it’s apparent that in both flights the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information,” he via a video release via the company’s website.
“It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it and we know how to do it,” he pleaded as he promised to install a new software fix for its anti-stall system and give pilots the authority to override the system, should it be activated by faulty sensor data.
The Reporter repeatedly attempted to speak to the CEO of Boeing, but the request was denied. Instead, via its public relations company based in South Africa, Meropa Communications, facilitated by Prologue Ethiopia, the sister company of Cactus Advertising and Marketing, and sent The Reporter the following statement on the value of the partnership between the airline and the Seattle based manufacturer.
“Ethiopian Airlines has a proud history that stretches more than seven decades. In that time, Ethiopian has been a pioneer and a leader in our industry, launching Africa into the jet age, connecting the continent with all corners of the globe with its extensive network, and with its extensive network, and earning a reputation for service and safety. More than just an airline, Ethiopian represents the pride and progress of a great people and a symbol of The New Spirit of Africa”, the statement said.
In the meantime, the father of Captain Yared Getachew, the pilot of the doomed flight 302, told The BBC Africa’s Emmanuel Igunza, the belated action of Boeing is “too little too late” and that his son was a “hero”.