Where Will Ethiopian Airlines Fly The Boeing 737 MAX?

Ethiopian Airlines is set to resume using the Boeing 737 MAX 8 almost three years after the type was grounded following the devastating accident in March 2019. It’ll deploy the MAX on eight routes from its Addis Ababa hub in February, with all but one route within Africa. Flights are now loaded and bookable.

Ethiopian Airlines, Boeing 737 MAX, Return To Service
Ethiopian will use the MAX to Moroni, the capital of the Comoros Islands, in February – the type will operate just four departures from Addis Ababa, supplementing the B787 that’ll handle the remaining 24 flights across the month. Photo: Boeing.

A quick look at Ethiopian Airlines’ MAXs

Ethiopian received its first MAX 8 (registered ET-AVM) in June 2018, with another four examples (ET-AVI/AVJ/AVK/AVL) appearing before the end of the year, ch-aviation.com shows. They were first used commercially in July 2018 and operated for just nine months until tragedy struck. They were then parked at Addis Ababa.

Now the type is back, with Ethiopian Airlines set to resume service by the 160-seat equipment on February 1st, according to the carrier’s latest schedule upload to data experts OAG and reflected in various booking engines. While the carrier confirmed the return on social media, its website does not yet show the changes.

Ethiopian Airlines B737 MAX 8 routes in February 2022
Generally, only a few flights to each destination will see the MAX. The exceptions are Enugu, which will only use the type, and Istanbul, which will welcome it just over half of the time. Image: GCMap.

Stay awareSign up for my weekly new routes newsletter.

Where will the MAX be used in February?

On February 1st, the MAX will operate to the Kenyan port city and tourist destination of Mombasa, according to OAG. However, the airport will see it only once during the month. It’ll operate ET322, leaving Addis Ababa at 10:10 and arriving at 12:30 local time. Returning, ET323 will leave at 17:30 and return home at 19:50, designed (as ever) for onwards connections.

  1. Addis Ababa (ADD) to Mombasa (MBA): February 1st only
  2. Entebbe (EBB): from February 2nd; 28 departures by the MAX in the month
  3. Enugu, Nigeria (ENU): from February 2nd; 12 departures
  4. Istanbul (IST): from February 4th; 15 departures
  5. Cairo (CAI): from February 5th; four departures
  6. Khartoum (KRT): from February 5th; eight departures
  7. Dar Es Salaam (DAR): Feburary 6th only
  8. Moroni, Comoros Islands (HAH): from February 6th; four departures
Ethiopian Airlines to Mombasa February 1st
When writing, the MAX does not (yet) appear in Ethiopian Airlines’ booking engine. However, the carrier has uploaded it to OAG, and it is visible in various other locations. Image: Google Flights.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

A month in the life of Ethiopian

When writing, Ethiopian Airlines anticipates 3,685 departures from its Addis Ababa hub in February. The MAX is down to operate just 74, or two in every 100. Only the B777-300ER will have fewer flights, with just Washington (served outbound via Dublin) and Lagos due to see it.

  1. Dash-8-400: 33.9% of estimated departures in February 2022
  2. B737-800: 18.7%
  3. B787-8: 17.2%
  4. A350-900: 10.8%
  5. B787-9: 7.0%
  6. B737-700: 5.8%
  7. B777-200LR: 2.9%
  8. B737 MAX 8: 2.0%
  9. B777-300ER: 1.6%

About six in ten of Ethiopian’s jet flights will be by widebodies. Due to pandemic-induced downgauging, the B777-300ER’s network has understandably shrunk significantly versus February 2020.

What do you make of the return of the MAX or the choice of destinations? Let us know in the comments.