Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) is two steps closer to putting the B737 MAX grounding saga behind it as the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) reauthorised the family's operations in the country as of September 6, while Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) reached a settlement with the manufacturer, hoping to restart B737-8 operations in late 2021 or early 2022.

"We have settled our case with Boeing, that’s why we are now starting the process to fly back the airplane. This happened in the last three months. We are happy on the settlement," Ethiopian Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam told Bloomberg.

After the crash of Ethiopian's B737 MAX 8 ET-AVJ (msn 62450) on March 10, 2019, which resulted in the global grounding of the type, Tewolde pledged that the airline would be the last airline in the world to restart the type's operations. Now, however, he has said that other MAX operators' experiences have proven that the type has been successfully improved and is safe.

"I can confirm that we are committed to the Boeing 737 MAX. My estimate is by the end of the calendar year or beginning of next year, January, we will be flying the airplane," he said.

Ethiopian Airlines has four grounded B737 MAX 8s and a further 26 on firm order from the manufacturer, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows.

While Tewolde would not disclose the details of the out-of-court settlement, the carrier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Boeing about developing Addis Ababa into an aviation industry hub. The two companies will jointly work on industrial development, advanced aviation training, educational partnership, and leadership development. While the parties to the agreement are only Ethiopian and Boeing, Tewolde underlined that the partnership would also include other suppliers, such as Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace and could extend to the production of parts in Ethiopia.

The Seattle Times reported, citing unnamed sources, that the final settlement includes USD280 million in cash, discounts on future orders, a new aircraft to replace the crashed unit, and free maintenance and parts for three years.

Meanwhile, the CAAS has said that Singaporean and foreign carriers alike are now able to operate the B737 MAX aircraft into Singapore Changi subject to the implementation of all modifications mandated by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The only Singaporean carrier with B737 MAX in its fleet is Singapore Airlines, which has six MAX 8s incorporated from former subsidiary SilkAir and a further 31 on order.