Why embattled Boeing 737 Max changed identity to 737-8

March 10, 2022 marks the third anniversary since the crash of Boeing 737 max 8, Ethiopian airlines flight 302 which was scheduled to live Addis Ababa bole international to Jomo Kenyatta international airport before it crashed shortly after departure killing all the 157 people on board.

Sadly, the horrific crash was not an isolated incident from Boeing. Less than five months earlier, another Boeing 737 MAX was involved in an incident off the coast of Indonesia. The aircraft, operated by Indonesian operator Lion Air, took off from Jakarta’s airport on 29 October 2018, but crashed into the sea 13 minutes, claiming the lives of all 190 passengers and crew

In March 2019, operators and governments were forced to retire the Boeing 737 MAX’s 387-strong fleet after two crashes in five months, triggering discussions about airplane security.

The final report on the Boeing 737 MAX, released by a US congressional committee, found “repeated and significant failures” by Boeing and identified the primary causes that contributed to the Boeing 737 MAX tragedy, including design faults, profit and production objectives over safety.

The Department of Justice had announced that it had achieved a deferred prosecution deal with Boeing to address a charge of criminal conspiracy to mislead the Federal Aviation Administration.

Boeing was to pay more than Ksh 285 billion to settle a criminal charge stemming from the deaths of 346 people in two 737 Max plane disasters in 2018 and 2019.

Boeing was to pay a criminal penalty of Ksh.27.8 billion under the terms of the agreement. The majority of the remaining funds, Ksh 194.20 billion, was to go to airlines that purchased 737 Max jets to compensate them for lost revenue while the cause of the crashes was examined.

A further Ksh 57.10 billion was to be deposited into a fund to assist the relatives of individuals deceased in the crashes.

In the agreement, Boeing accepted responsibility for Ethiopian Airways flight 302 losing control shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

According to court records, the arrangement did not include monetary compensation for the victims’ families but it allowed them to pursue individual claims in US courts rather than in their own nation. The catastrophe claimed the lives of 35 persons from 35 different countries.

A Kenyan family of a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy in 2019 agreed to a Ksh.327 million deal to abandon a lawsuit against Boeing. This was the first settlement in a case brought by Ribbeck Law Chartered on behalf of families who lost loved ones in the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 2019 tragedy.

In a public order announcement in 2020 , Boeing made a slight modification to the name of its 737 MAX family, eliminating the now-tarnished MAX label from the names of the individual planes.

In a statement announcing a commitment for two MAX 8 jets from Poland’s Enter Air , the Chicago-based planemaker referred to the MAX 8 as the “737-8.”

The 737-8 nomenclature is the company’s internal standard for identifying specific models.

In March 2022, Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest aviation group, signed an initial agreement with Boeing to order five of its newest freighter jets, the 777-8s, to expand its cargo operations.

Ethiopian Airlines will be able to satisfy growing worldwide cargo demand from its hub in Addis Ababa, thanks to a deal with Boeing to order the freighter version of the 777X, the Chicago-based plane maker said in a statement on March 4.

“We are planning to expand our cargo and logistics business to be one of the largest global multimodal logistics providers in all continents,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines group.

“To this effect, we are increasing our dedicated freighter fleet with the latest technology, fuel-efficient and environment-friendly airplanes of the 21st century.

“The new 777-8 freighters will be instrumental in this long journey of growth agenda.”

Ethiopian Airlines is the second carrier to commit to Boeing’s 777X freighter, following Qatar Airways’ announcement on January 31 that it had placed an order for 50 of the newest air-cargo transporters at the White House.

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