Aircraft

Ethiopian Airlines Resumes Deliveries of the Controversial 737 MAX Aircraft

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Following the lifting of flight bans on the Boeing 737 MAX line, Ethiopian Airlines has restored confidence in The Boeing Company’s narrowbody line with the first post-recertification delivery of a Boeing 737-8 MAX.

The airline has taken possession of a new aircraft, a Boeing 737-8 MAX registered ET-AWJ received on Saturday, July 2, 2022, at its base at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport (ADD).

The new aircraft is part of an order book of thirty (30) MAX 8s, five (5) of which were delivered between the end of June and the end of September 2018.

One of five aircraft, including ET302, crashed on 10 March 2019 after takeoff from Addis Ababa Airport while flying to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport (NBO), killing all 157 people on board which lead to the grounding of the 737 MAX jet.

Meanwhile, international organizations also ordered the grounding of the narrowbody throughout the world.

Following corrections made to the 737 MAX, several airlines around the world have resumed commercial operations with this model.

Ethiopian also redeployed its other Max planes that have lain idle since the crash, saying it has reached a financial settlement with the US planemaker.

Boeing’s misfortune and Airbus’ golden opportunity

Recent challenges around safety concerns and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing losing ground to Airbus. Nonetheless, both companies control a significant market share with Airbus extending its dominance over the last five years.

According to data compiled and calculated by Finbold, by the end of 2021, Airbus had delivered 1,376 aircraft under all categories from the start of the pandemic in January 2020. The units almost tripled the cumulative 466 deliveries made by Boeing over the same period.

Over the last five years, Airbus has had an upper hand delivering 3,757 aircraft, with Boeing trailing at 2,415. Interestingly, in 2017 and 2018, Boeing recorded a total of 1,569 deliveries which was higher than Airbus’ 1,518.

For the MAX aircraft, Boeing registered the highest deliveries for the controversial aircraft model with 245 units despite its safety concerns. Elsewhere, Airbus A320neo was the leading brand for Boeing’s arch-rival, Airbus, with 258 units.

While the two manufacturers took a hit from the pandemic and recorded suppressed orders as the airline industry was grounded globally, they still command a significant share of market orders thanks to their market position and they will likely explore means to expand their market position.

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