Boeing delivers a 737 Max to one of the airlines that suffered a fatal crash of the plane

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CNN Business

Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of a 737 Max from Boeing in June, the aircraft maker disclosed Tuesday.

It’s the first time Ethiopian has taken a 737 Max since the March 2019 crash that killed all 157 people on board, and led to a 20-month grounding of the jet.

The other airline that suffered a fatal crash involving the Max, Lion Air of Indonesia, has yet to take a new Max delivery.

Boeing reported the delivery as part of its June orders and delivery report. Overall it was also the busiest month for 737 Max deliveries since the grounding ended in late 2020, with 43 of the planes being delivered to customers. It was also the busiest month for any kind of commercial plane deliveries by Boeing since March of 2019, with a total of 51 deliveries.

It’s a sign that demand for the plane is returning to pre-crash levels. Boeing has so far delivered 443 of the 737 Max jets since the grounding ended, with 181 of those being delivered so far this year, up from 105 delivered in the first half of 2021.

Ethiopian did not respond to a request for comment on taking the delivery. Its web site lists four 737 Max planes in its fleet, and another 24 on order. It’s not clear how the June delivery affects those numbers. The airline also has 27 older versions of the 737 Max in its fleet.

The purchase was criticized by Robert Clifford, an attorney for families of the crash victims.

“This is really disappointing – a sad reminder for the crash victims families nearly three and a half years later, knowing that the Boeing Max will be flying again even in Ethiopia, where the crash happened,” he said.

Boeing has faced myriad problems in recent years, beyond the drop in demand for passenger planes that occurred during the pandemic. It is still waiting approval to again begin delivering the 787 widebody passenger planes that have been halted due to quality control issues.

Deliveries are crucial to Boeing’s bottom line since it gets most of the money from airline sales at the time of delivery. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv forecast another narrow loss for Boeing when it reports second quarter results later this month.

CNN World