The winglet of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 is seen as it sits grounded at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: The head of Ethiopian Airlines reiterated on Sunday his trust in Boeing, even after a fatal crash of one of the carrier’s Boeing 737 Max aeroplanes earlier this year.

Tewolde Gebremariam, chief executive officer of Ethiopian Air, said that the African carrier is still working with Boeing on upgrades to the 737 Max jets, and that he will wait to see the completion of that process before deciding on whether to take delivery of more 737 Max jets.

“Boeing is more than 100 years [old], and it’s a high quality engineering company, so we have to trust it,” he said. “[The 737 Max updates] are still work in progress, and we are working together, but that is not yet completed, so we will have to see.”

His comments were made to reporters at the Dubai Airshow just after Ethiopian Air signed a services deal with Boeing to improve connectivity on the 787 aircraft model. Under the agreement, Boeing will upgrade the internet connectivity on board all 29 of the carrier’s Boeing 787 jets. It will also provide engineering, design, and project management for the modifications, along with on-site technical assistance to Ethiopian Air.

The airline said at the signing ceremony that the deal is a “continuation of [its] long-term strategic partnership” with Boeing, and thanked the American manufacturer for providing its services.

Gebremariam said the agreement was not at all connected to the compensation provided by Boeing to Ethiopian Air for the crash of the 737 Max jet. He added that the two parties were still in discussions about the compensation, and no value has yet been determined.

Boeing had earlier said it will be compensating airlines across the world that have had to ground their 737 Max aircraft following two fatal accidents involving the model. In early March, an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed, just months after another Boeing 737 Max jet operated by Lion Air also crashed.