BEIRUT: Ethiopian Airlines disputed Monday a statement from Lebanon’s public works minister that the investigation report into Ethiopian jet that crashed into the Mediterranean in 2010 has been finalized, and accused Lebanon of failing to provide evidence critical to the investigation.
A statement from the airline said the investigation process has reached only a technical review stage which will then be followed by an analysis stage.
“Hence, it is abundantly clear to all parties of the investigation team that it is far from being finalized. As long as the process is not completed in accordance with the agreed action plan therefore, the investigation will remain unfinished.”
Last week, Aridi held a news conference at the Rafik Hariri International Airport where he said that the report had been finalized and would be sent the U.S., France and Ethiopia for a 60-day review process. He added that if no amendments are made, the report would be made public and Lebanon could then take the necessary legal action.
In the statement, the airline said the Lebanese government had failed to deliver documents, evidence, and data critical to the investigation.
“Moreover, several documents, evidences, and data, which were requested to be submitted by the Lebanese authorities since the beginning of the investigation, were once again not availed for review,” the airlines said.
During his press conference last week, Aridi spoke of a meeting which took place on Aug.19 between the Ethiopian delegation and the head of the Lebanese delegation in Beirut to carry out a technical review, but said that the Ethiopian delegation had left the country without prior notice.
The airline responded to Aridi by saying that the failure of the Lebanese government to deliver necessary documents had prompted the delegation to leave to Addis Ababa.
“In the absence of such vital documents the Ethiopian delegation notified the head of the Lebanese delegation that they cannot proceed with the technical review and as a result they left for Addis Ababa,” the airline added.
The Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed into the Mediterranean less than four minutes after takeoff on Jan. 25, 2010, after performing two maneuvers ordered by Beirut’s Air Traffic Control team. All 90 people aboard were killed.
A joint investigation committee was created and managed by Lebanon’s Civil Aviation Authority to investigate the crash and was composed of Lebanese and Ethiopian representatives, along with individuals representing Boeing, the plane’s U.S. manufacturer.