Ethiopian Airlines crash: Black boxes reach France

Source: India Abroad News Service

Paris, March 14 (IANS) The flight data recorders or black boxes from the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane that crashed on Sunday killing all 157 people on board, arrived in France on Thursday for analysis, officials said.

Ethiopian Airlines said a team led by its Accident Investigation Bureau had flown to Paris with the cockpit voice and flight data recorders, devices that typically provide the best information about the plane crash.

The French air accident investigation office, the BEA, said on Wednesday Ethiopia had asked it for assistance in analysing information contained in the data recorders, Efe news reported.

The BEA has extensive experience probing crashes and the devices could arrive at the BEA’s laboratory outside Paris later Thursday, a French official said.

Downloading the data and making early conclusions can take only a few hours, but detailed analysis takes months.

The crash probe was also being aided by the US National Transportation Safety Board, British accident investigators and technical experts from Boeing.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which on Wednesday joined others in grounding the 737 MAX fleet, said it would decide how to proceed with the plane after seeing the information.

Returning them to flight could take a couple of months, it said, according to Efe news.

Meanwhile, Air Italy SpA, a carrier part owned by Qatar Airways, said it would lease an Airbus SE A319 short-haul plane from Bulgaria Air to replace a Boeing 737 MAX 8 put out of service after European regulators grounded the model.

“With the grounding of our (737 MAX 8) aircraft, it was vital to find alternative aircraft as rapidly as possible to minimise any impact on our passengers,” said Air Italy Chief Operating Officer Rossen Dimitrov on Thursday.

Airlines around the globe parked their 737 MAX planes after regulators, from the US to China, barred the plane from flying over safety concerns in the wake of Sunday’s crash.

The duration of the grounding was still uncertain.

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