An Ethiopian Airlines jet made an emergency landing in Dakar with one of its engines on fire, though all 90 passengers and crew were unharmed, airport and airline officials said.
The Boeing 767 aircraft had just taken off from Dakar airport en route to Addis Ababa when the pilot asked to return and make an emergency landing, Tidiane Tamba, a spokesperson for the Senegal airport told AFP.
Ethiopian Airlines confirmed one of its jets had suffered a “mechanical problem” and had safely returned to its point of departure, without giving more details on the cause.
The airline said all those onboard were safe.
The Dakar incident came after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX crashed in March shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people onboard.
A preliminary report from the fatal crash of a Boeing 737 Max in which 157 people died in Ethiopia will be released on Monday, the foreign ministry said.
“The Ethiopia Ministry of Transport will give a preliminary report into its investigation of the ET 302 plane crash later on Monday,” said Nebiat Getachew, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman.
No details were provided about exactly when the report would be released, or what it might contain.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed on March 10, southeast of Addis Ababa.
Families in 35 nations were left bereaved when the plane went down just minutes after takeoff from the Highland capital on a flight south to neighbouring Kenya, and nose-dived into a field.
A source with knowledge of the investigation has said an anti-stall system, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), was activated shortly before the crash.
Boeing designed the MCAS system, which lowers the aircraft’s nose if it detects a stall or loss of airspeed.
However, the same MCAS system was implicated in the October crash of a 737 MAX 8 airliner off Indonesia which left 189 people dead.
In the Indonesia crash, initial investigations found problems with the MCAS system, when sensors of the plane’s flight details sent wrong information.
The pilot had tried repeatedly to regain control and pull the nose up but the plane smashed into the sea.
Aside from the tragedies of all the casualties, the two crashes have been major blows to aviation giant Boeing, triggering the US manufacturer’s biggest crisis in decades with the MAX 8 model grounded worldwide.
Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s largest carrier and in many ways the international face of the nation.
Identifying the remains of the 157 people killed in an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash may take up to six months, the airline said in a document seen by AFP on Saturday.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plummeted into a field minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa bound for Nairobi last Sunday, killing all on board. The disaster led to the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, the plane that crashed.
Witnesses said the plane nose-dived into remote farmland southeast of the Ethiopian capital, reducing the plane to small pieces of debris buried deep in the earth. People of 35 nationalities were killed in the crash.
In a document distributed by the airline to family members who lost loved ones in the crash, Ethiopian Airlines laid out a timetable for the return of victims’ belongings and the distribution of death certificates.
“DNA result will be announced approximately between 5 to 6 months from the date the sample is collected,” read the document. Relatives of the victims could submit DNA samples in Addis Ababa or at Ethiopian Airlines offices worldwide, it added.
The document was shared with AFP by a relative of a victim, who asked not to be named.
The person said that under the victim’s Jewish faith, no funeral could be held until his remains were returned, and the six-month delay was stressing the victim’s family.
“They are in immense pressure and remorse as it is, without waiting half a year,” the relative said.
The crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 was the second deadly incidence for the 737 MAX 8 following the October crash of an Indonesian Lion Air jet that killed all 189 passengers and crew.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is a brand-new jet. The crash of two of them in the space of just a few months, coupled with similarities in the circumstances, led countries and airlines around the world to ground the plane.
The Ethiopian plane’s voice and flight data recorders are in Paris, where French, Ethiopian and American investigators will try to determine what went wrong.
As more questions emerge over the safety of the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane after Sunday’s crash, China and Ethiopian Airlines have grounded the fleet.
Ethiopian Airlines said Monday it had grounded its fleet after a crash that killed 149 passengers and eight crew.
“Following the tragic accident of ET 302… Ethiopian Airlines has decided to ground all B-737-8 MAX fleet effective yesterday, March 10, until further notice,” the state-owned carrier said in a statement released on Twitter.
“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we have to decide to ground the particular fleet as an extra safety precaution,” said the airline, Africa’s largest.
All 157 people on board died when Nairobi-bound Flight ET 302 came down just six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa.
It ploughed into a field near Tulu Fara village outside the town of Bishoftu, some 60 kilometres (40 miles) southeast of the Ethiopian capital.
Grounded In China
Also on Monday, China ordered domestic airlines to suspend commercial operation of the Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Noting the “similarities” between Sunday’s crash and that of Indonesia, China’s Civil Aviation Administration said domestic airlines had until 6:00 pm local time (1000 GMT) to ground all 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
The Indonesia Lion Air flight had crashed after takeoff from Jakarta in October, killing all 189 people on board.
Operation of the model will only resume after “confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety”, the administration said in a statement.
The aviation authority will contact the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, it said.
China is an important market for the US aircraft company, accounting for about one-fifth of worldwide deliveries of Boeing 737 MAX models.
The company has delivered 76 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to Chinese airlines, which have ordered another 104, according to data from the aircraft maker’s website updated through January.
Boeing and joint venture partner Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China operate a plant in the eastern city of Zhoushan that completes the interiors of 737 MAX planes for Chinese airlines.
The factory delivered its first MAX 8 plane to Air China in December. The planes are assembled in Renton, Washington state, and taken to Zhoushan to finish the interior work, according to Boeing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent his condolences to the leaders of Ethiopia and Kenya, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a regular briefing.
Four of the Chinese victims are employees of Chinese companies, two work for the United Nations and two were people from Liaoning and Zhejiang provinces on personal trips, Lu said.
“China hopes Ethiopia will find the cause as soon as possible, keep China posted, and properly handle the follow-up work,” Lu added.
Nigerian scholar, author and popular columnist/activist, Pius Adesanmi, was among those killed when an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed on Sunday.
All 149 passengers and eight crew members aboard the plane which crashed minutes after departing the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for Nairobi in Kenya perished in the tragic incident.
Adesanmi was one of two Nigerians on the tragic flight which went down with nationals from at least 35 other countries. The other Nigerian on the flight was Abiodun Bashua, a retired ambassador on contract with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
In a statement on Sunday evening, Carleton University said the tragic news left its community “shocked and devastated”.
Benoit-Antoine Bacon, who is President and Vice-Chancellor of the University said, “Pius was a towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship and his sudden loss is a tragedy.”
He added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and loved him, and with everyone who suffered loss in the tragic crash in Ethiopia.”
Also quoted in the statement was the dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Pauline Rankin, who described Adesanmi’s contributions to the university as “immeasurable”.
“He worked tirelessly to build the Institute of African Studies, to share his boundless passion for African literature and to connect with and support students,” she said.
“He was a scholar and teacher of the highest caliber, who leaves a deep imprint on Carleton.”
Tributes have poured in for Adesanmi who is popular for his courageous, constructive and widely regarded columns as well as his passion for the development of Nigeria.
His last post on Facebook went up in the morning of Saturday, March 9, 2019. It was a verse from the Bible:
“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me – Psalm 139:9-10”.
The pilot of a Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 that crashed six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday, had alerted controllers “he had difficulties” and wanted to turn back the plane carrying 157 people, the head of Ethiopian Airlines said.
The pilot “was given clearance” to return to Addis, Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam told journalists in the Ethiopian capital when asked whether there had been a distress call.
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 crashed Sunday morning en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew on board, state media reported as African leaders offered condolences.
“We hereby confirm that our scheduled flight ET 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in accident today,” the airline said in a statement, later confirming a report by Ethiopia’s FANA Broadcasting Corp that there were no survivors.
“It is believed that there were 149 passengers and eight crew on board the flight,” it said.
The airline has not provided information on passengers’ nationalities but there are reports people from 33 countries were on board. The crash came on the eve of a major, annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme opening in Nairobi.
State-owned Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest carrier, said the plane had taken off at 8:38 am (0538 GMT) from Bole International Airport and “lost contact” six minutes later near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres (37 miles) southeast of Addis Ababa by road.
The weather in the capital, according to an AFP reporter, was clear when the brand-new Boeing plane, delivered to Ethiopia last year, plane took off.
The Boeing came down near the village of Tulu Fara outside Bishoftu.
An AFP reporter said there was a massive crater at the crash site, with belongings and airplane parts scattered widely.
Rescue crews were retrieving human remains from the wreckage.
Police and troops were on the scene, as well as a crash investigation team from Ethiopia’s civil aviation agency.
In the Kenyan capital, family members, friends, and colleagues of passengers were frantically waiting for news at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
“I am still hoping that all is fine, because I have been waiting for my sister since morning and we have not been told anything,” Peter Kimani told AFP in the arrivals lounge over an hour after the plane was scheduled to land at 10:25 am local time.
His sister is a nurse who he said had gone to Congo. “She travels a lot on missions.”
“We are still expecting our loved one from Addis… we have just received news that there is a plane that has crashed. We can only hope that she is not on that flight.”
Hoping for the best
Among those waiting, Khalid Ali Abdulrahman received happy news about his son, who works in Dubai.
“I arrived here shortly after 10:00 am and as I waited, a security person approached me and asked me which flight are you waiting for. I answered him quickly because I wanted him to direct me to the arrivals, so I told him Ethiopia, and then he said: ‘Sorry, that one has crashed’.”
“I was shocked, but shortly after, my son contacted me and told me he is still in Addis and did not board that flight, he is waiting for the second one which has been delayed,” Khalid told AFP.
“I am waiting for my colleague, I just hope for the best,” added Hannah, a Chinese national.
African Union commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat said he had learnt of the crash “with utter shock and immense sadness.
“Our prayers are with the families of the passengers + crew as authorities search for survivors. I also express our full solidarity with the Govt & people of Ethiopia,” he said on Twitter.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office tweeted it “would like to express its deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones.”
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said he was “saddened” by the news, adding: “My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board.”
Mahboub Maalim, executive secretary of the IGAD East African bloc, said the region and the world were in mourning.
“I cannot seem to find words comforting enough to the families and friends of those who might have lost their lives in this tragedy,” he said in a statement.
For its part, the plane’s maker, US giant company Boeing, said it was “aware” of the accident “and is closely monitoring the situation.”
Ethiopian Airlines said it would send staff to the accident scene to “do everything possible to assist the emergency services.”
It would also set up a passenger information centre and a dedicated telephone number for family and friends of people who may have been on the flight, while Kenya’s transport minister said officials would meet and council loved ones waiting at JKIA.
The Boeing 737-800MAX is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed last October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
The last major accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was a Boeing 737-800 that exploded after taking off from Lebanon in 2010, killing 83 passengers and seven crew.
According to reports, Boeing delivered the plane to Ethiopian Airlines last November.
Ethiopian Airlines and the government of Chad have signed an agreement to launch Chad’s new national carrier on Oct. 1, officials said on Friday.
Ethiopia’s state-owned flag carrier is in talks with a number of African states to acquire stakes and manage operations – a strategy aimed at gaining a competitive advantage against rivals such as those in the Gulf.
The airline is ranked by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as the largest carrier in Africa by revenue and profit, outpacing regional competitors Kenya Airways and South African Airways.
On Friday, the head of Chad’s Civil Aviation Authority Mahamat Adjam told Reuters the new company will be named ‘Tchadia Airlines’, with the government owning 51 per cent and Ethiopian Airlines the rest.
“The inaugural flight is planned for October 1 but the first destination has yet to be determined,” he said, adding the carrier would start off with a fleet of two Bombardier Q400 turboprop planes.
“It (the airline) will serve the four main cities in Chad and traffic to neighbouring countries,” Adjam said.
The move will help Chad as it will improve its international air connections. In 2012, Chadian authorities suspended international flights operated by state carrier Toumai Air after an investigation revealed serious safety problems.
The carrier operated flights to regional destinations including neighbouring Cameroon, Gabon and Ivory Coast. It also operated seasonal routes to Saudi Arabia and Dubai.
For Ethiopian Airlines, the partnership is another step in its efforts to work with national carriers across the continent.
The company has been in talks with Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea to set up carriers through joint ventures, and also aims to create a new airline in Mozambique that it will fully own.
Ethiopian Airlines is the frontrunner to set up and manage a new national carrier for Nigeria and has signed an agreement with the Zambian government to relaunch Zambia’s flag carrier at an initial cost of $30 million.
Last month, Ethiopian Airlines announced that net profit in the 2017/18 financial year rose to $233 million from $229 million the previous year.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) attached to Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) has intercepted 10.6kg of high grade pure rrack heroin with street value of over N200 million .
Addressing a news conference, the NDLEA MAKIA Commander, Ambrose Umoru, told journalists that the drug was uncovered during an inward examination and clearance of luggage of Ethiopian Airline flight number ET 491 from Addis Ababa.
The drug was neatly concealed in eight submersible water pump machines inside two cartons wrapped with a transparent cellophane leather.
In a related development, the Command also seized 93kg of narcotics comprising of 22kg of Methamphetamine worth N60 million and Ephedrine worth N70 one million all concealed in cartons of pressing irons mixed with hair attachments and slippers destined for Maputo, Mozambique.
Channels Television’s Jubrin Idris reports that no arrest was made in the course of the seizure, but the noted that the Commander urged members of the society to be wary any suspicious individual who may likely look like the fugitive for immediate apprehension.
Nigeria’s Aviation sector has recorded another milestone achievement with the commencement of international flight from the Akannu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu State.
The recent renovation of the fourteen airports across the country is majorly responsible for this feat by Enugu’s Akannu Ibiam International Airport marking its first flight to the South East of Nigeria with Ethiopian National Carrier to Nigeria.
The Minister for Aviation in a chat with newsmen described it as dream come true and a fulfilment of one of the President Goodluck Jonathan transformation agenda to the Nigerian people.
As is expected the outbound flight was fully booked with twenty passengers on standby while it arrived Nigeria loaded to capacity.
Nigerian Aviation industry has however increased its streak of successes as the Ethiopian National Carrier left Nigeria and another is expected to commence international flight from the airport shortly.
The Managing Director FAAN said the feat represent a boost to Nigeria’s economy and that foreign exchange directed to other nations could now be retained in Nigeria.
The Minister of Aviation described it as an economic booster to the landlocked Enugu state and a fulfillment if the President’s dream.
Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim described it as a dream come true for the South Eastern states.
Investigators started work on Saturday to establish the cause of a fire on a Boeing Dreamliner at London’s Heathrow airport, a new setback for the high-tech model after it was grounded at the start of the year over battery problems.
The fire broke out on the plane, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, on Friday afternoon, when it was parked at a remote stand with no passengers on board, eight hours after arriving from Addis Ababa. No one was injured.
External scorching could be seen close to the plane’s tail, in a different area from the bays containing batteries. There was no official indication of what could have caused the fire.
“The aircraft has been moved to a secure hangar at Heathrow and the investigation has begun,” said a spokesman for Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).
The AAIB will lead the investigation, working alongside the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing, he said.
Separately, engineers from Britain’s Thomson Airways were inspecting their own Boeing Dreamliner after it had to turn back during a flight on Friday from Manchester in England to Sanford in Florida because of an unspecified technical issue.
Boeing will be keen to reassure airlines, travelers and investors over the cause of the Heathrow fire as quickly as possible but under aviation rules it will be up to investigators to decide how much information to release and when.
Ethiopian Airlines, one of Africa’s top five carriers, said it would continue to fly its Dreamliner fleet. It has ordered a total of 10 Dreamliners of which four have been delivered.
“The incident at Heathrow happened while the plane was on the ground and had been for more than eight hours and was not related to flight safety,” the carrier said in an emailed statement on Saturday.
“After a normal flight from Addis to London passengers disembarked in the morning and the aircraft was cleaned. It was towed to a remote parking area as usual and parked properly with all internal and external powers switched off,” said an official from the airline’s public relations department.
The Heathrow and Manchester incidents are a new blow for Boeing after the entire global fleet of Dreamliners had to be grounded for three months, ending in April, after one high-tech battery caught fire and another overheated.
Boeing shares closed down 4.7 percent at $101.87 on Friday, knocking $3.8 billion off the company’s market capitalization.
Quoting Mark Mangooni, Ethiopian Airlines’ senior manager in Britain, the Financial Times reported that airline staff had discovered a problem with the aircraft’s air conditioning system during a routine inspection and had seen sparks but no flames.
The report did not make clear when this had happened. Reuters could not reach Mangooni for comment.
Heathrow briefly closed both its runways to deal with the fire, and a spokeswoman said on Saturday that the airport was back to normal operations, although it was still dealing with a backlog of delays and cancellations due to Friday’s incident.
The Dreamliner’s two batteries are in compartments located low down near the front and middle of the plane. Damage to the Ethiopian plane appeared to be on top of the fuselage, close to the tail, according to video from the scene.
Former NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said the Heathrow incident was extraordinary, coming so soon after the fleet had returned to service, but warned against jumping to conclusions.
“It’s very early. No one knows where the fire started at this point,” Rosenker told Reuters, adding it could be something as simple as a coffee pot left on in a galley.
A spokesman for GS Yuasa, which makes the Dreamliner batteries, said he had not received any information about whether or not batteries had been involved.
The 787 is Boeing’s biggest bet on new technology in nearly 20 years. It cost an estimated $32 billion to develop and Boeing plans to use hundreds of innovations such as its carbon-fiber composite skin and electrical system to enhance other jets.
The 787 Dreamliner fleet was grounded by regulators at the start of the year after batteries overheated on two of the jets within two weeks, including a fire in a parked Japan Airlines plane in Boston.
Boeing was forced to halt deliveries of the jet while it was grounded and airlines stopped ordering the plane at that time. Orders have since resumed and Boeing has logged 83 Dreamliner orders this year, bringing its current order book to 930 planes.
Boeing never disclosed the cost of the three-month grounding but said it absorbed most of the expense in the first quarter while still posting a 20 percent rise in profit. Its shares are up 35 percent this year, even after Friday’s loss.
The plane which caught fire in London was the first of the 787 fleet to resume flight after the battery-related grounding.
A person familiar with the aircraft’s configuration said the damaged area appears close to galleys and environmental control systems, but added that it was too early to link the fire to any specific equipment.
Several airlines said they were continuing to operate their 787s, including United Continental, Polish airline LOT, Japan Airlines and ANA, the world’s biggest operator of the Dreamliner.
Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliners are powered by General Electric GEnx engines.