French investigators resume work on Ethiopian jet’s black boxes

Men unload a case, containing the black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8, outside the headquarters of France’s BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, France. (Reuters pic)

PARIS: France’s air accident investigation agency said on Saturday it had resumed work analysing the black boxes from an Ethiopian Airways plane that crashed last week, in coordination with teams from Boeing as well as US and EU aviation safety authorities.

The black boxes’ data should provide answers to why the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft hurtled into the ground minutes after takeoff last Sunday from Addis Ababa, killing 157 people.

The French agency said that, in addition to Boeing, teams were also attending from the US National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

Nations around the world, including an initially reluctant United States, have suspended 737 MAX models in operation. The crash in Ethiopia was the second in five months for the plane after another in Indonesia in October.

The model is relatively new – only 371 such planes were flying – but another nearly 5,000 are on order, meaning the financial implications are huge.