Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Engineer says airline opened logs after crash

- Bernard Condon

SEATTLE – Ethiopian Airlines’ former chief engineer said in a whistleblo­wer complaint filed with regulators that the carrier went into the maintenanc­e records on a Boeing 737 Max jet a day after it crashed this year, a breach he contends was part of a pattern of corruption that included fabricatin­g documents, signing off on shoddy repairs and even beating those who got out of line.

Yonas Yeshanew, who resigned this summer and is seeking asylum in the U.S., said that although it is unclear what, if anything, in the records was altered, the decision to go into them at all reflects a government-owned airline with few boundaries and plenty to hide.

“The brutal fact shall be exposed … Ethiopian Airlines is pursuing the vision of expansion, growth and profitability by compromisi­ng safety,” Yeshanew said in his report, which he gave to the Associated Press after sending it last month to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administra­tion and other internatio­nal air safety agencies.

Yeshanew’s criticism of Ethiopian’s maintenanc­e practices, backed by three other former employees who spoke to the AP, makes him the latest voice urging investigat­ors to take a closer look at potential human factors in the Max saga and not just focus on Boeing’s faulty anti-stall system, which has been blamed in two crashes in four months.

Ethiopian Airlines portrayed Yeshanew as a disgruntle­d former employee and denied his allegation­s.

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