15 March 2019

Tanzania: Our Boeing 787-8 Is Safe, ATCL Says

AIR Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) has assured customers that its series of airplanes Boeing 787-8 is safe, with no record of accidents or incidents.

The clarification came a few days after the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed on Sunday, a few minutes after take-off, killing all 157 people on board.

ATCL Director for Operations, Captain Said Hamad, said their customers should not worry about their safety as the series that was involved in the accident was different from the one used by Tanzania.

"The series we are using is safe to fly and one of the most purchased series by many operators in the world; the series we are using has no such records," he said.

Captain Hamad further said their customers should also know that the pilots for that series have received special training from the manufacturer.

The cause of the disaster is not yet clear. But the pilot had reported difficulties and asked to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines has said.

Visibility was said to be good but air traffic monitor Flightradar24 reported that the plane's vertical speed was unstable after take-off.

Boeing announced on Wednesday it would be recommending the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes globally out of an abundance of caution.

But the move hasn't stopped countries taking matters into their own hands in which 50 countries have now grounded or banned the controversial Max 8 models which were involved in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Regulators, including across the European Union, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Australia, have banned 737 Max aircraft from flying in or over their airspace.

On Thursday (yesterday) morning, the plane's black box was expected to arrive in Paris for analysis, potentially providing answers to victims' families still mourning their loved ones.

The Boeing 737 Max fleet of aircraft is the latest in the company's successful 737 line. The group includes Max 7, 8, 9 and 10 models.

By the end of January, Boeing had delivered 350 of the Max 8 model out of 5,011 orders. A small number of Max 9s are also operating.

Following last October's Lion Air crash in Indonesia, investigators said the pilots had appeared to struggle with an automated system designed to keep the plane from stalling, a new feature of the jet.

Tanzania has also sent its condolences to bereaved families and all countries that lost their citizens in the plane crash.

In a message relayed via his tweeter account, President John Magufuli remarked: "I am deeply saddened to hear about the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines' Boeing 737... . which occurred early today. I seize this occasion to express my profound condolences to all the bereaved families and to all Heads of State whose people's lives have been claimed by this accident."


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