March 23, 2019
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Black boxes of Ethiopian Airlines Boeing Co. 737 MAX 8 arrive in France

Paris, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- The flight data recorders or so-called black boxes from the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing Co. 737 MAX 8 plane that crashed, killing all 157 people onboard, have arrived in France for analysis, a French official said Thursday according to a Dow Jones Newswire report made available to EFE.

Ethiopian Airlines had said that a team led by its Accident Investigation Bureau had flown to Paris with the cockpit voice and flight data recorders, two devices that typically provide the best information about why a plane crashed Sunday.

The French air accident investigation office, the BEA, said late Wednesday that Ethiopia had asked it for assistance in analyzing the information contained in the data recorders.

The BEA has extensive experience probing crashes.

The devices should arrive at the BEA's laboratory outside Paris later Thursday, the French official said. Downloading the data and making early conclusions can take only a few hours, though detailed analysis typically takes months.

The Ethiopian-led crash probe also is being aided by the United States National Transportation Safety Board, British accident investigators and technical experts from Boeing.

The US Federal Aviation Administration, which on Wednesday joined others in grounding the 737 MAX fleet, said it would decide after seeing the information how to proceed with the plane.

Returning them to flight could take a couple of months, it said, according to a Dow Jones report made available to EFE.

Meanwhile, Air Italy SpA, a carrier part owned by Qatar Airways Co., said it would lease an Airbus SE A319 short-haul plane from Bulgaria Air to replace a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane put out of service after European regulators on Tuesday grounded the model.

"With the grounding of our (737 MAX 8) aircraft, it was vital to find alternative aircraft as rapidly as possible to minimize any impact on our passengers," Air Italy Chief Operating Officer Rossen Dimitrov said Thursday.

Airlines around the globe have been forced to park their 737 MAX planes after regulators from the US to China barred the plane from flying over safety concerns in the wake of Sunday's crash.

The duration of the grounding is still uncertain.

The US Federal Aviation Administration, which idled the fleet Wednesday afternoon, said it would wait for information from the plane's so-called black boxes before deciding how to proceed.

Those devices are due to be downloaded by the French air accident investigation office in a specialized laboratory outside Paris.

Air Italy said the lease of the plane would be for an unspecified duration.

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