Boeing’s new plane needs a closer look

A file photo of Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-700 aircraft, similar to the 737-800 which crashed outside Addis Ababa on Sunday with the loss of 157 lives. AFP/File/ISSOUF SANOGO

A file photo of Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-700 aircraft, similar to the 737-800 which crashed outside Addis Ababa on Sunday with the loss of 157 lives. AFP/File/ISSOUF SANOGO

If there is a problem with the plane, it should be grounded worldwide for rectification of any faults.

Few tragedies are as heart-wrenching as air crashes: people on their way to family, to friends, to work, to play, have their lives suddenly snuffed out, as with the flick of a switch.

That is why we feel for the relatives, friends and colleagues of the 157 people who perished in yesterday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash. We extend our deepest sympathies and hope you eventually find some sort of comfort.

Ethiopian Airlines operates the biggest and most modern aircraft fleet in Africa and is also the continent’s most profitable airline. It has a good safety record and is respected around the world.

The aircraft, which crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa bound for Kenya yesterday, was only four months old.

The crash is the second involving such a plane, Boeing’s new 737 Max 8, a revised and upgraded version of the world’s best-selling passenger aircraft. Last year, an Indonesian Lion Air 737 MAX8 plunged into the sea after take-off, killing all 189 people abroad.

There is no evidence at the moment that the incidents are linked. But if there is a problem with the plane, it should be grounded worldwide for rectification of any faults. Lives cannot be placed at risk.

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