Photo Credit: SHANGHAI, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 08: An Ethiopian Airlines Airbus A350-941 in runaway at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on September 08 2018 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Yu Chun Christopher Wong/S3studio/Getty Images)
Two Pilots Suspended After Falling Asleep And Failing To Land Ethiopian Airlines Flight
Two pilots reportedly fell asleep while flying from Sudan to Ethiopia last week. This resulted in the pilots missing the flight’s landing.
The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 was flying from Khartoum to Addis Ababa when, according to the report, the pilots fell asleep while cruising at 37,000 feet, missing its landing at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.
How the plane eventually landed
After making many attempts to contact the crew, air traffic control was unsuccessful. An alarm went off after the plane passed the runway and missed landing.
The plane landed safely 25 minutes later.
A statement issued by Ethiopian Airlines says, “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.”
It goes on to say, “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.”
This incident comes months after pilots Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines expressed that many pilots are exhausted, which could cause safety issues.
“Fatigue, both acute and cumulative, has become Southwest Airlines’ number-one safety thread,” says a letter to airline executives from the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) in April 2022.
The letter states the reason for an increase in pilot’s exhaustion being severe weather, the COVID-19 pandemic and flight cancellations.
Both pilots have been suspended.