Ethiopia-based bloggers rushed to defend the safety record of the country's national airline on Monday after one of its planes crashed near Beirut, with all 90 people on board feared dead.
Owen Abroad said he was “very upset” by the news in the post Ethiopian Airlines, adding:
Ethiopian Airlines has an outstanding safety record. The staff are professional, courteous and efficient. I will be flying from the UK to Addis on Friday on Ethiopian Airlines and, despite today’s tragedy, I am looking forward to it.
A commenter on the blog agreed, writing:
I’ve flown with them a number of times, and never had a bad experience. They’re also much better with changing dates than most other airline companies.
Two annoyances about the news coverage in the UK
When the crash was first announced on the news, we were told that there were 2 Brits on board, one Canadian citizen, and one French citizen. Apparently people of other nationalities are less relevant / interesting.
The second:- The airline safety expert was repeatedly questioned about the safety record of African airlines, and had to answer a number of questions about the quality of Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet (in particular the age of the planes). I certainly don’t remember similar questions being asked after the Air France crash last summer.
Reuters’ Addis-based correspondent Barry Malone wrote a post on the company's Africa News Blog titled Ethiopian plane crash should not sully success story:
When news of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash broke this morning my heart sank at the thought of covering yet another negative story about Ethiopia.
It’s particularly galling for Ethiopians that the airline is one of the few international success stories for a country known mostly for famine and war.
When the news emerged I also immediately knew how hard the company’s staff would take it. I’ve been to the sprawling campus that serves as headquarters to Africa’s arguably flagship airline many times. The last time was just last week to interview CEO Girma Wake and I left with a gift of Ethiopian coffee and the impression that I’d rarely seen people so passionate or proud about their work and what it does for their country.
Nazret.com provided running updates on the crash as the story developed through the day.