Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

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Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302
Ethiopian Airlines ET-AVJ takeoff from TLV (46461974574).jpg
ET-AVJ, the aircraft involved in the accident, seen in February 2019
Date10 March 2019 (2019-03-10)
SummaryCrashed shortly after take-off; under investigation
SiteTulu Fara village near Bishoftu, Ethiopia
8°52′37″N39°15′04″E / 8.87694°N 39.25111°E / 8.87694; 39.25111 Coordinates: 8°52′37″N39°15′04″E / 8.87694°N 39.25111°E / 8.87694; 39.25111 [1]
Aircraft type Boeing 737 MAX 8
Operator Ethiopian Airlines
IATA flight No.ET302
ICAO flight No.ETH302
Call signETHIOPIAN 302
Registration ET-AVJ
Flight origin Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Destination Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. On 10 March 2019, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft which operated the flight crashed six minutes after takeoff, near the town of Bishoftu, killing all 157 people aboard. The cause of the accident is currently unknown and is under investigation.

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport international airport serving Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is in the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is located in the Bole area, 6 km (3.7 mi) southeast of the city centre and 65 km (40 mi) north of Debre Zeyit. The airport was formerly known as Haile Selassie I International Airport. It is the main hub of Ethiopian Airlines, the national airline that serves destinations in Ethiopia and throughout the African continent, as well as nonstop service to Asia, Europe, North America and South America. The airport is also the base of the Ethiopian Aviation Academy. As of June 2018, nearly 450 flights per day were departing from and arriving at the airport.

Ethiopia country in East Africa

Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country in the northeastern part of Africa, popularly known as the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With over 102 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the second-most populous nation on the African continent that covers a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi). Its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa, which lies a few miles west of the East African Rift that splits the country into the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport international airport serving Nairobi, Kenya

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, is an international airport in Nairobi, the capital of and largest city in Kenya. Located in the Embakasi suburb 15 kilometres (9 mi) southeast of Nairobi's central business district, the airport has scheduled flights to destinations in over 50 countries. Originally named Embakasi Airport, the airport's name was changed in 1978 to honor Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president and prime minister. The airport served over 7 million passengers in 2016, making it the seventh busiest airport in passenger traffic on the continent.


Flight 302 is the deadliest accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft to date, surpassing the fatal hijacking of Flight 961 resulting in a crash near the Comoros in 1996. [2] It is also the deadliest aircraft accident to occur in Ethiopia, surpassing the crash of an Ethiopian Air Force Antonov An-26 in 1982, which killed 73. [3]

Ethiopian Airlines flag-carrier airline of Ethiopia

Ethiopian Airlines, formerly Ethiopian Air Lines (EAL) and often referred to as simply Ethiopian, is Ethiopia's flag carrier and is wholly owned by the country's government. EAL was founded on 21 December 1945 and commenced operations on 8 April 1946, expanding to international flights in 1951. The firm became a share company in 1965 and changed its name from Ethiopian Air Lines to Ethiopian Airlines. The airline has been a member of the International Air Transport Association since 1959 and of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) since 1968. Ethiopian is a Star Alliance member, having joined in December 2011.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 hijacking, water ditching of aircraft

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 was a scheduled flight serving the route Addis Ababa–Nairobi–Brazzaville–Lagos–Abidjan. On 23 November 1996, the aircraft serving the flight, a Boeing 767-200ER, was hijacked en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi by three Ethiopians seeking asylum in Australia. The plane crash-landed in the Indian Ocean near Grande Comore, Comoros Islands, due to fuel exhaustion; 125 of the 175 passengers and crew on board, including the three hijackers, died. The only (partially) successful ditching of a wide-body airliner in history, the crash was captured on video.

Comoros sovereign archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean

The Comoros, officially the Union of the Comoros, is an island country in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique, the French region of Mayotte, and northwestern Madagascar. The capital and largest city in Comoros is Moroni. The religion of the majority of the population is Sunni Islam.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 model first flew on 29 January 2016 and entered service in 2017, making it one of the newest aircraft in Boeing's commercial airliner offerings, and the newest generation of Boeing 737. [4] As of February 2019, 376 aircraft of this model have been produced, and one other has crashed, Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia in October 2018. [5] [2] [6] [7] Following the accident, the Boeing 737 MAX series of aircraft was grounded by various airlines and government regulators worldwide.

Boeing Aerospace and defense manufacturer in the United States

The Boeing Company is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, and missiles worldwide. The company also provides leasing and product support services. Boeing is among the largest global aircraft manufacturers; it is the fifth-largest defense contractor in the world based on 2017 revenue, and is the largest exporter in the United States by dollar value. Boeing stock is included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Boeing 737 Single aisle airliner family

The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range twinjet narrow-body developed and manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes in the United States. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from the 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of thirteen passenger models with capacities from 85 to 215 passengers. The 737 is Boeing's only narrow-body airliner in production, with the 737 Next Generation and the re-engined and updated 737 MAX variants also in use.

Lion Air Flight 610 2018 aircraft crash in the Java Sea, Indonesia, killing 189

Lion Air Flight 610 was a scheduled domestic flight operated by the Indonesian airline Lion Air from Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta to Depati Amir Airport in Pangkal Pinang. On 29 October 2018, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 operating the route crashed into the Java Sea 12 minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 passengers and crew.


Flight 302 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. The aircraft took off from Addis Ababa at 08:38 local time (05:38 UTC) with 149 passengers and 8 crew on board. [5] One minute into the flight, the pilot reported a “flight control” problem but decided to continue the flight; three minutes into the flight the aircraft accelerated beyond its safety limits,[ better source needed ] and the pilot requested permission to return to Addis Ababa while the air traffic controllers had already been diverting other approaching flights. [8]

Nairobi City in Nairobi County, Kenya

Nairobi is the capital and the largest city of Kenya. The name comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi, which translates to "cool water", a reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city. The city proper had a population of 3,138,369 in the 2009 census, while the metropolitan area has a population of 6,547,547. The city is popularly referred to as the Green City in the Sun.

East Africa Time time zone used in eastern Africa

East Africa Time, or EAT, is a time zone used in eastern Africa. The time zone is three hours ahead of UTC (UTC+03:00), which is the same as Arabia Standard Time, Further-eastern European Time, Moscow Time and Eastern European Summer Time.

Coordinated Universal Time Primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time

Coordinated Universal Time is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is within about 1 second of mean solar time at 0° longitude, and is not adjusted for daylight saving time. In some countries where English is spoken, the term Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is often used as a synonym for UTC.

However, the aircraft then disappeared from radar screens and crashed at 08:44, six minutes after takeoff, having reached an altitude of about 9,000 feet MSL. [1] [2] [9] [10] Flight tracking data showed that the aircraft's altitude and rate of climb and descent were fluctuating. [11] Several witnesses stated the plane trailed "white smoke" and made strange noises before crashing. [12] It crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62 kilometres (39 mi) southeast of Bole International Airport. [13] Photographs of the accident site show a large crater with only small pieces of wreckage. [14] There were no survivors. [5]

Bishoftu Town in Oromia, Ethiopia

Bishoftu is a town and separate woreda of Ethiopia, lying south east of Addis Ababa. It was formerly known as Debre-Zeit however since the late 1990s it has been officially known by the Oromo name, Bishoftu, which was its name until 1955. The town is located in the Misraq Shewa Zone of the Oromia Region, and has an elevation of 1,920 metres (6,300 ft).


The aircraft was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, registered ET-AVJ (construction number 62450, manufacturer's serial number 7243), powered by two CFM International LEAP engines. [9] The aircraft was manufactured in October 2018 and delivered on 15 November 2018, making it around four months old at the time of the accident. [15] [16]

Boeing 737 MAX Airliner family by Boeing

The Boeing 737 MAX is a narrow-body aircraft series designed and produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes as the fourth generation of the Boeing 737, succeeding the Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG).

Aircraft registration registration and identification assigned to an individual aircraft by national aviation authorities

An aircraft registration is a code unique to a single aircraft, required by international convention to be marked on the exterior of every civil aircraft. The registration indicates the aircraft's country of registration, and functions much like an automobile license plate. This code must also appear in its Certificate of Registration, issued by the relevant National Aviation Authority (NAA). An aircraft can only have one registration, in one jurisdiction, though it is changeable over the life of the aircraft.

Serial number unique code assigned for identification of a single unit

A serial number is a unique identifier assigned incrementally or sequentially to an item, to uniquely identify it.

Passengers and crew

The airline stated that the flight’s 149 passengers had 35 different nationalities, [17] listed in the following table:

Passengers by nationality [18]
China8 [lower-alpha 1]
United States8
United Kingdom7
Saudi Arabia1

All passengers and crew on board, 157 in total, were killed in the accident. [2] Many of the passengers were travelling to Nairobi to attend the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly. [20] Twelve of the victims worked for the United Nations (UN), [21] and at least another seven had other UN affiliations. [22] Both Addis Ababa and Nairobi have offices of UN agencies, and Addis Ababa has the head office of the African Union. [23]

Victims included the Italian archaeologist and Councillor for Cultural Heritage of Sicily, Sebastiano Tusa, and Nigerian-Canadian academic Pius Adesanmi. [24] [25] It was originally reported that there were five Dutch victims, [26] but this was later corrected to state that they were German. [27] Slovak politician Anton Hrnko lost his wife and two children in the crash. [2] A Greek man and an Emirati man missed the flight and avoided the disaster. [22]

The airline stated that one passenger had a United Nations laissez-passer. [17]

The captain of the plane was Yared Getachew, who had been flying with the airline for ten years and had logged a total of 8,231 flight hours. He had been a Boeing 737 captain since November 2017. [28] [29] [17] At the time of the accident, he was the youngest captain at the airline. [29] The first officer, Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur, was a recent graduate from the airline's academy with 350 flight hours logged. [29] [17] [30]


Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed offered his condolences to the families of the victims. [5] Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam visited the accident site, confirmed that there were no survivors and expressed sympathy and condolences. [31] Boeing issued a statement of condolence. [32]

The Ethiopian parliament declared 11 March as a day of national mourning. [33] During the opening of the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, a minute of silence was observed in sympathy for the victims. [34] President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, in his condolence message on behalf of the government and the people of Nigeria, extended his sincere condolences to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, the people of Ethiopia, Kenya, Canada, China and all other nations who lost citizens in the crash. [35]

On 11 March, the FAA commented that the Boeing 737 Max 8 model was airworthy. However, due to concerns on the operation of the aircraft, the FAA ordered Boeing to implement design changes, effective by April. [36] It stated that Boeing "plans to update training requirements and flight crew manuals in response to the design change" to the aircraft's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The changes will also include enhancements to the activation of the MCAS and the angle of attack signal. [37] Boeing stated that the upgrade was developed in response to the Lion Air crash but did not link it to the Ethiopian Airlines crash. [38]

Flight International commented that the accident would likely increase unease about the Boeing 737 MAX felt in the aftermath of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident in October 2018, which similarly occurred shortly after take-off and killed everyone aboard. [39] Boeing has lost around 26.6 billion dollars in its market value since the crash dropping 11% over the weekend. [40]


As a result of the accident and the Lion Air Flight 610 crash, which occurred five months prior to the Ethiopian crash, most airlines and countries began grounding the Boeing 737 MAX 8 (and in many cases all MAX variants) due to safety concerns. Airlines grounding their MAX fleets included Aerolineas Argentinas, [41] Aeromexico, [41] Cayman Airways, [42] Ethiopian Airlines, [43] GOL, [41] MIAT Mongolian Airlines, [36] LOT Polish Airlines, [44] Royal Air Maroc, [45] Sunwing, [46] and Comair Limited. [47] Some aviation authorities have grounded all MAX aircraft under their jurisdiction, also encompassing transiting flights, including the Civil Aviation Administration of China, [48] the European Aviation Safety Agency, [49] India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation, [49] Indonesia's Directorate General of Civil Aviation, [50] [48] the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia, [51] the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia, [52] South Korea's Office of Civil Aviation, [53] the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, [54] Germany's Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, [55] the United Kingdom's Civil Aviation Authority, [56] Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority, [57] [58] the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand, [59] Transport Canada, [60] and the United States' Federal Aviation Administration. [61]

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initially declined to ground 737 MAX aircraft under its jurisdiction. [62] [63] An emergency order was eventually issued grounding the aircraft worldwide after agreement between the FAA and Boeing. [64]


The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, the agency responsible for investigating civil aviation accidents in Ethiopia, has been investigating. The aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, stated that it is prepared to work with the United States National Transportation Safety Board and assist Ethiopian Airlines. [32] The United States Federal Aviation Administration will also assist in the investigation. [65]

Both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder were recovered from the crash site on 11 March. [66] U.S. officials urged Ethiopian Airlines officials to send the voice and data recorders to the United States for analysis, but airline officials told reporters that they had decided to send them to European safety experts instead. [67] Representatives from Germany's Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation said that Ethiopian authorities had contacted it about analyzing the flight recorders, but the agency declined because it did not have the software required. [68] The French aviation accident investigation agency BEA announced that it would analyze the flight recorders from the flight. [69] BEA received the flight recorders on 14 March. [70] On 17 March, the Ethiopia’s transport minister Dagmawit Moges announced that "the black box has been found in a good condition that enabled us to extract almost all the data inside" and that the preliminary data retrieved from the flight data recorder show a clear similarity with those of Lion Air Flight 610 which crashed off Indonesia. [71]

On 13 March, the FAA announced that new evidence found on the crash site and satellite data on Flight 302 suggested that the aircraft might have suffered from the same problem which the aircraft operating Lion Air Flight 610 had suffered from. Investigators discovered the jackscrew that controlled the pitch angle of the horizontal stabilizer of Flight 302, was in the full "nose down" position. The finding suggested that, at the time of the crash, Flight 302 was configured to dive, similar to Lion Air Flight 610. [72] Due to this finding, some experts in Indonesia suggested that the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) should cooperate with Flight 302's investigation team. [73] Later on the evening, the NTSC offered assistance to Flight 302's investigation team, stating that the committee and the Indonesian Transportation Ministry would send investigators and representatives from the government to assist with the investigation of the crash. [74]

See also


  1. Including: 1 Hong Kong resident [19]

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