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Anti-stall system likely activated in crash: Ethiopian Airlines CEO

26 March 2019

The second, in Ethiopia two weeks ago, prompted regulators across the world to ground the MAX, a more fuel-efficient version of Boeing's successful 737 franchise that first flew in 2016.

In a statement outlining the close ties between the Ethiopian and United States airline industries, Mr Gebremariam said: "Let me be clear: Ethiopian Airlines believes in Boeing".

Boeing is hosting customers and regulators in Renton, Washington, this week to explain the measures it's taking to return the Max to service.

Boeing is preparing a software fix for the system - which must be approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration - which is created to stop the plane from pointing upwards at too high an angle, where it could lose its lift.

Kenya Airways (KQ) has the option of buying more of the older 737-800 version of the Boeing aircraft that does not feature the suspect software, but this could see it lose the fuel efficiency associated with the new jet.

About 200 pilots, technical leaders and regulators are due to attend another session on Wednesday.

The national carrier hatched the plan of buying the planes in 2018 at a cost of Ksh120 billion.

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Evidence pointing again at MCAS in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 this month resulted in the FAA's March 13 order to ground the plane.

The NTSB sent three investigators to assist in the black box analysis in France, the agency said at the time, and were specifically trained to look into a key question in the crash: whether the plane's autopilot system might have played a role in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, as it seemed to have done in the fatal crash of an Indonesian Lion Air 737 MAX 8 last October. It also is to include a new warning system so pilots know when the automated MCAS system has been activated, and limits on how far down the system can point the plane.

"The people of Ethiopia feel this very deeply too".

The update will also ensure MCAS is not triggered multiple times, as it was in the Lion Air crash. Reportedly, one of the changes will involve having the MCAS system take in data from both angle-of-attack sensors instead of just one, and refrain from kicking in if the readings disagree.

Separately, Boeing is rolling out new pilot training courses to cover the new flight control systems.

China's demand for airliners is huge, and it could still order plenty more Boeing jets, but the announcement highlighted the peril Boeing faces in restoring airline and passenger confidence in its bestselling jet.

Announcing the special committee Monday, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said, "This review by leading outside experts will help determine if improvements can be made to the FAA aircraft certification process".

Anti-stall system likely activated in crash: Ethiopian Airlines CEO