Ethiopian Airlines denounce stories by New York Times and Washington Post

Kwao Saa

Ethiopian Airlines has said it is disappointed by false reports from American media houses about the pilots of the ill-fated MAX 737 jet.

Ethiopian Airlines released two press statements slamming reports by the New York Times and the Washington Post which alleged that the pilots were not adequately trained.

The New York Times story titled “Ethiopian Airlines Had a Max Simulator, but Pilot on Doomed Flight Didn’t Receive Training” claimed that the airline’s failure to properly train its pilots contributed to the fatal plane crash which killed 157 people.

On Thursday, Ethiopian Airlines released a statement saying its pilots had received the required training to fly the Boeing MAX plane.

“We urge all concerned to refrain from making such uninformed, incorrect, irresponsible, and misleading statements during the period of the accident investigation, ” the Airlines’ statement said. “Ethiopian Airlines pilots completed the Boeing recommended and FAA approved differences training.”

The New York Times responded to the statement by Ethiopian Airlines. “We stand by our reporting, the facts of which have not been disputed by Ethiopian Airlines. Our article has been updated to include the airline’s response to it,” the publication’s statement said.

On Friday morning, Ethiopian Airlines released another statement to denounce an article which was published in the Washington Post on Thursday. The airline described the Washington Post’s story as baseless allegations.

In the press release, Ethiopian Airlines insisted that its pilots were trained and were qualified for their jobs, adding that the allegations made by the article were gotten from unreliable sources.

“All the allegations in the article are false defamations without any evidence, collected from unknown and unreliable sources to divert attention from the global grounding of the B-737 MAX airplanes,” the Ethiopian Airline statement said.

Ethiopian Airline has since transported the black boxes of the plane that crashed to France for analysis. Authorities have said there are similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash and a Lion Air Flight that crashed last year in Indonesia.

Although Boeing has said it stands by the safety of its planes, the American company has also released a software update for the MAX jet fleet. Meanwhile, aviation authorities across the world have grounded all Boeing MAX airplanes until the investigation into the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash is concluded.