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Ethiopian Airlines Prepares For Boeing 737 Max Return

An Ethiopian Boeing 737 MAX departs after delivery from Boeing Field (Photo: Boeing)

Ethiopian Airlines is now laying the groundwork for the return of the Boeing 737 Max. The airline on Monday issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) on the Boeing 737 MAX that will help pave the way for the model’s return to service with the first flight expected on Feb. 1.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam, said, “Safety is our topmost priority at Ethiopian Airlines and it guides every decision we make and all actions we take. It is in line with this guiding principle that we are now returning the B737 MAX to service not only after the recertification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), EASA of Europe, Transport Canada, CAAC, ECAA and other regulatory bodies but also after the return to service by more than 34 airlines around the world.”

According to the OAG schedules update, Ethiopian Airlines intends to resume flying the 737 MAX 8 with services from the airline’s hub in Addis Abba, Ethiopia to Istanbul, Turkey; Khartoum, Sudan; Enugu, Nigeria; Entebbe, Uganda; Moroni, Comoros; Nos By, Madagascar; Victoria, Seychelles and Cairo.

“In line with our initially stated commitment to become among the last airlines to return the B737 MAX, we have taken enough time to monitor the design modification work and the more than 20 months of rigorous recertification process and we have ensured that our pilots, engineers, aircraft technicians, cabin crew are confident on the safety of the fleet. The airplane model has accumulated more than 275,000 commercial flights since the resumption of the B737 MAX operation a year ago,” GebraMariam added.

Ethiopian Airlines currently has four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in its fleet, with a further 25 on order.

The Airline’s CEIV Certification

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines was awarded IATA’s Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) certification in pharmaceutical logistics. CEIV Pharma is an industry-wide standard, addressing the industry’s need for more safety, security, compliance and efficiency, by the creation of a globally consistent and recognized pharmaceutical product handling certification.

GebreMariam said, “We are delighted to receive this important global certification, IATA CEIV Pharma certificate, which is a strong assurance of one of the highest global standards in the aviation and logistics industries. With an annual capacity of more than a million tons, our global air cargo and logistics hub in Addis Ababa has various special cargo handling facilities like Pharma and Life Science, Live Animals, Perishable cargo, live seafood, dangerous goods, etc.”

The airline switched to cargo, maintenance and charter operations to help soften the Covid-19 blow. As a result, this achievement certifies the airline’s expertise and efficient handling of pharmaceuticals and life science products.

“Accordingly, we have been working very hard on our Pharma and Life Science handling facility to meet global standards in technology, processes and training. The IATA CEIV Pharma Certification has come at an opportune time for Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics team as they continue to play a key global role in the transportation of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines around the world and particularly in the continent of Africa. The journey to even greater success in the logistics market has started for Ethiopian Airlines as we are already equipped with a huge capacity in terms of state-of-the-art cold chain facility, equipment, system, process and dedicated pharma handling professionals,” GebreMariam added.

In addition, the strategic and geographical location of Ethiopian Airlines’ hub airport — located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — makes it highly preferable for the transportation of highly temperature-sensitive products.  The natural temperature stability year-round ranges between +15 degrees celsius to +25 degrees celsius, which will play an important role to minimize potential temperature deviation through the value chain.

Ethiopian also deployed smart cool dollies to ensure smooth transportation of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products from the warehouse to the aircraft & vice versa with a capability to maintain an internal temperature between -29 degrees celsius to +27 degrees celsius.

Victor Shalton


  • Victor Shalton

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Victor’s love for aviation goes way back to when he was 11-years-old. Living close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, he developed a love for planes and he even recalls aspiring to be a future airline executive for Kenya Airways. He also has a passion in the arts and loves writing and had his own aviation blog prior to joining AirlineGeeks. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at DeKUT and aspiring to make a career in a more aviation-related course.

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