Ethiopia’s airline CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told reporters at a press conference that the pilot on flight ET 302 who crashed Sunday morning had reported technical difficulties and asked for approval to return to Addis Ababa.
He was allowed to return, according to M. GebreMariam, referring to the Air Traffic Controller’s record.
The leading Ethiopian Airlines pilot had flown more than 8,000 hours. He had an “excellent flying record”, according to the CEO.
A routine maintenance check revealed no problems, he said. GebreMariam said they have not yet decided the cause of the crash.
“As I said it is a brand new aircraft without technical comments, flew by a leading pilot and there is no reason we can attribute right now.”
GebreMariam also confirmed that the company owns 6 others 737 Max 8- aircraft in service. Asked if the company would base them, he explained that they would not “as we do not know the cause of the accident”.
Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft had fled to Addis Ababa Sunday morning from Johannesburg on Flight ET858.
CEO has visited the crash site today. He said the plane “is now right in the ground” and it was not possible to identify whether it was an emergency landing or a crash. He said there was still smoke in the place when he visited.
A general picture shows the scene of the aircraft Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302, near the city of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 1