When Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed last week, all 157 people on board were killed, including pilot Yared Getachew and first officer Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur. While investigations into the reasons for the disaster are underway, friends and colleagues of the crew lost in the tragedy have gathered at the pilots’ union hall in Addis Ababa for a memorial service. Many have described the scenario as surreal, the true horror and scale of the incident perhaps not yet sinking in.
A well run training school
Captain Getachew and his first officer Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur were both students of the highly acclaimed Ethiopian Airlines’ training academy. Airline business strategist Nawal Taneja toured the school last year and has stated that it is very impressive. 4000 students attend the school each year which offers training for roles as pilots, as well as mechanics, cabin crew and management. Graduates of the academy will go on to work for one of the three flight markets, long haul, domestic or trans-Africa. The school has a very good reputation and has been training pilots since 1964. Ethiopian Airlines has expanded rapidly over recent years, with hubs across Africa and an increase in flights outside of the continent, to destinations in the US and Asia. It is no secret that Ethiopian Airlines wants to be Africa’s leading carrier and it’s on the right track for making that a reality.
Ethiopian Airlines youngest captain
At just 29, Yared Getachew was the youngest captain employed by Ethiopian Airlines however, despite being young in age, he was highly experienced. He had been with the airline for the past ten years and had already logged more than 8000 flight hours. Most pilots start their training at the academy after attending college, but Getachew joined straight out of high school.
The route the ill-fated Boeing 737 was taking when the crash occurred six minutes after take off, was between Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Captain Getachew was no stranger to this route, indeed he flew it nearly every day. Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur had graduated from the training academy more recently, with just 200 hours flight time under his belt.
An emotional memorial service
For those training and working with Ethiopian Airways, the tragedy has hit hard. They have lost 7 of their colleagues, each of which was represented by a framed photograph on a raised platform for the service held on Monday. Friends and loved ones stepped forward to say some words and relate personal stories.