ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES MISHAP

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  • ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES IS THE BIGGEST AFRICAN CARRIER
  • CREW HAS BEEN SUSPENDED PENDING INVESTIGATIONS
  • INCIDENT COULD HAVE BEEN A RESULT OF AIRLINE OVERWORKING CREW
Two pilots are believed to have fallen asleep and missed their landing during an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Sudan to Ethiopia on Monday, according to a report by commercial aviation news site Aviation Herald.

eTHIOPIAN aIRLINES FLEET Ethiopian Airlines is the biggest African carrier. Image, Airspace Africa

The incident took place on board an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 en route from Khartoum to Addis Ababa, According to the report ,”an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800, registration ET-AOB performing flight ET-343 from Khartoum (Sudan) to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), was enroute at FL370 when the pilots fell asleep. The aircraft continued past the top of descent maintaining FL370 and continued along the FMC route set up for an approach to runway 25L without descending, however.
AUTO PILOT TO THE RESCUE
Air controllers tried to contact the crew numerous times without success. After overflying runway 25L at FL370 the autopilot disconnected, the disconnect wailer woke the crew up who then maneuvered the aircraft for a safe landing on runway 25L about 25 minutes after overflying the runway at FL370.”
Data obtained by the authorities indicates that the aircraft was cruising at 37,000 feet on autopilot when it failed to descend at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, its scheduled destination, on August 15. Air traffic control were apparently unable to reach the crew despite making several attempts at contact. However, an alarm was triggered when the plane overshot the runway and continued along the route.
The aircraft subsequently began to descend, landing safely around 25 minutes later.
Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data shows the aircraft overflying the runway, before beginning its descent and maneuvering for another approach. “We have received a report which indicates Ethiopian flight number ET343 en route from Khartoum to Addis Ababa temporarily lost communication with Addis Ababa Air Traffic Control on 15 August 2022,” reads a statement issued by Ethiopian Airlines on Friday. “The flight later landed safely after communication was restored.
The concerned crew have been removed from operation pending further investigation.
“Appropriate corrective action will be taken based on the outcome of the investigation. Safety has always been and will continue to be our first priority,” the statement said.

Ethiopian Airlines Ethiopian Airlines is still considered to be among the safest airlines. Image, Voyage Afriq

Aviation experts are suggesting pilot exhaustion to be the main reason of the Ethiopian airlines mishap. Pilots Associations at a couple of major carriers have warned that pilot exhaustion was on the rise and urged management to treat fatigue and the resulting mistakes as a safety risk.They hinted that fatigue, both acute and cumulative, has become the number-one safety threat and that  the rising demand for air travel as the industry begins to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic, and cancellation chaos brought about by severe weather were among the reasons for the increase in pilot exhaustion.
SIMILAR MISHAP
Back in May, Italian media reported that an ITA pilot had been fired after “falling asleep” during a flight between New York and Rome. The co-pilot was said to be taking an “authorized rest” at the time, leading to the Airbus A330 losing communication with air traffic control for ten minutes, according to the report.

Ethiopian Airlines said Friday that the crew had been “removed from operation pending further investigation. Appropriate corrective action will be taken based on the outcome of the investigation. Safety has always been and will continue to be our first priority.” The statement did not state whether the pilots had been sleeping.

Experts have said that the Ethiopian Airlines mishap said the incident could have been a result of the airline overworking the pilots or other external factors. Hassan Shahidi of the Flight Safety Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, told the press that that pilot fatigue “would certainly be investigated in terms of exactly how many hours they were flying and potentially whether fatigue or scheduling may have played a role in this, but it is, at the end of the day, the responsibility of the crew if they are fatigued or if they are tired, to report that they’re tired.”

 

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES BOASTS AFRICA’S LARGEST FLEET

 

Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s largest carrier and, according to experts, has a good safety record. Sean Mendis, a former regional airline manager in Africa, said, “I would not hesitate to fly on Ethiopian myself. I was on two Ethiopian Airlines flights this week already. I’ve got another one booked for the next few weeks. And, you know, Ethiopian does remain one of the safest airlines in Africa and, indeed, in the world.”

The outcome of the investigation was expected to come quickly, as Ethiopian Airlines attempts to dispel passenger concerns over safety. Airlines around the globe should take a cue from the Ethiopian Airlines mishap to review safety drills and pilot flying hours at a time so as to avert impending disaster.

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