Ethiopian Airlines CEO affirms brand’s strength despite MAX incident

According to Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, yesterday at the IATA AGM in Seoul, the airline is yet to fully determine the financial impact of the crash that occurred on March 10, 2019, but the airline remains a “very strong brand”, he said.

“Our brand is still very strong. But so far, we have not calculated all of the [financial] effects, including having our four remaining 737 MAXs grounded,” he said.

Gebremariam also said the airline had not yet formed a plan for how it will reintroduce the MAX to operations after the grounding is lifted.

“As we have said, Ethiopian Airlines will be the last airline to bring the MAX back into service. That’s because we have to do a lot of analysis and evaluations on our own and then we will decide,” he said.

“We trust Boeing and the regulators and we are working with them, but in our case, it is more than that because we suffered a tragic accident,” he pointed out.

Gebremariam also emphasized that the company’s long-time relationship with Boeing remained strong and it was not looking for alternative aircraft suppliers.  The airline is taking delivery of Airbus A350 XWBs that it ordered long before the crash.

“We had been very busy handling the aftermath of the accident. We do not have time to look into other aircraft models. Ethiopian will continue to operate 737-800s,” he said.

“We are adding Houston [Texas] and looking to add more points in the US as well as China and Europe,” he said.

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