Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302: Five Years On

Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302: Five Years On
LLBG Spotter, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
James Field - Editor in Chief 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

Today marks five years since Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed minutes after takeoff.

This accident, alongside Lion Air Flight JT610, highlighted a serious issue with the Boeing 737 MAX that would later ground the aircraft.

Without further ado, let’s get into it…

Looking at ET302…

LLBG Spotter, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 was a routine scheduled flight between Addis Ababa and Nairobi.

Operated by ET-AVJ, one of the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, all seemed normal until after takeoff.

Around six minutes after departure, the aircraft crashed near the town of Bishoftu, killing all 157 people onboard.

As the investigation began, indications were quickly pointing to the same way that Lion Air Flight JT610 crashed.


Eventually, the crash report indicated that a loss of control in flight was caused by this system.

What This Meant for the Boeing 737 MAX At The Time…

Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302: Five Years On
Photo Credit: Boeing.

Following the crashes of Lion Air flight JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, a global grounding of the MAX 8 took place.

Two accidents in five months all pointing to the same system placed significant concern into the integrity of the program.

Significant changes were made to the system, as well as the corporate structure at Boeing following this.

But these two accidents dwindled the confidence of Boeing as a manufacturer of commercial aircraft.

Eventually, the aircraft were cleared to return to commercial service following software updates.

MCAS ended up being a system under significant scrutiny, and has left behind a mark in the program’s story.

Safety Concerns Still Go On To This Day…

Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302: Five Years On
Photo Credit: Boeing.

With the MAX program, that emblem of concerning safety standards has continued to this day.

We have seen this evident on the MAX 9 variant following the Alaska Airlines Flight AS1282 incident.

Missing bolts on the door plug caused the actual door to separate in flight not long after departure from Portland.

Following this, a temporary grounding of the affected aircraft was undertaken whilst checks and fixes were applied.

But within this issue had caused another storm that Boeing had to fight off the back of a successful 2023 sales-wise.

As soon as this issue arose, everyone was thinking back to the safety elements observed with Lion Air Flight JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302.

The American planemaker still has a lot to do to restore this confidence as we progress through 2024.


Photo Credit: Boeing.

Overall, the sad events that took place on Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 and Lion Air Flight JT610 should have been enough to have incorporated change.

From what we have seen with Alaska Airlines flight AS1282, there have been failings that could have been prevented.

As we look back at five years since ET302, all eyes have to be on the safety aspect from Boeing.

Looking ahead, all eyes will be on what other additional measures will be placed to ensure the American planemaker retains it’s status as one of the best once again and in the limelight for the right reasons.

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