Ethiopian Airlines yesterday made it quite clear that it’s seriously considering abandoning the 737Max for good.
It’s CEO said he felt it would be nearly impossible to ask his pilots to trust it and that the whole country had lost faith in the idea of the aircraft.
Even if Ethiopian decided to continue use of the 737 Max, “we would be the last country in the world to do it” said CEO Tewolde Gebremariam.
He added that even if pilots could be convinced and they’re making it plain they’re not currently willing, he doubted the Ethiopian or other passengers from destination countries would ever be willing to fly on it.
He didn’t offer suggestions as to an alternative but the difference with Ethiopian’s CEO – and it’s quite refreshing in many ways, is he says what most people actually feel. He gets that the public have lost any confidence in what is clearly a bad product.
He understands that pressing ahead with buying more “fixed” or repaired existing aircraft, is forcing something on the public they’re not happy about.
That undermines their willingness to fly and use the airline, and sets bad feeling permanently against it. Being given no choice as to what you get to fly in isn’t a comfortable feeling for anyone when you know there are issues, even supposedly resolved ones.
The fact that it takes the CEO of a relatively new modern and respected airline from Africa to say what people want to hear and feel is a milestone in itself.
How come CEO’s in Europe and America aren’t prepared to say the same things? If they were they stand a major chance of getting public good will on their side. But profit comes first and most airlines don’t care what you think or feel as long as they make money.