FILE - In this June 20, 2017, file photo Boeing planes displayed at Paris Air Show, in Le Bourget, east of Paris, France. Uncertainty over a Boeing jet and apprehension about the global economy hover over the aircraft industry as it prepares for Paris Air Show. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

Ethiopia Targets March to Complete Max Crash Report

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia is looking to complete a prolonged report into the deadly crash of the national carrier’s Boeing Co. 737 Max jet by the second anniversary of the incident in March.

The country’s civil aviation authority and Ethiopian Airlines Group will carry out their own safety checks on the model before considering a return to the skies, Amdye Ayalew Fanta, the government’s chief investigator, said by phone on Friday.

The 2019 crash outside Addis Ababa killed all 157 people on board and led to the grounding of the Max worldwide.

“We are working on the investigation,” said Amdye. “We are trying to expedite so the report is released before the anniversary.” Progress has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

Amdye was speaking after Europe’s top aviation regulator said he’s satisfied that changes to the Max have made the plane safe enough to return to the region’s skies by the end of this year.

Boeing’s target is also for 2020, though the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S. hasn’t made a prediction about timing.

Ethiopian Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam said earlier this month the carrier is still in talks with Boeing about compensation for the crash, and he’s repeatedly pledged his airline will be the last to resume Max flights.

Investigators in the country said in March that design faults and inadequate pilot training had caused the disaster.

By Simon Marks, Bloomberg