Ethiopian Airlines suspends pilots who would have slept after missing landing

Ethiopian Airlines suspends pilots who would have slept after missing landing

Ethiopian Airlines suspended pilots of a flight that departed from Sudan for Ethiopia on Monday (15th). They are being investigated after the plane temporarily lost communications with air traffic control and overshot the runway.

According to the Aviation Herald, a website that publishes reports of commercial aviation incidents, the plane’s two pilots fell asleep midflight. Arriving near Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, the Boeing 737800 simply flew over the runway and followed an unexpected route.

When detecting the discrepancy, the control tower made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the crew. Communications were reestablished after about 25 minutes when the plane’s autopilot ceased operations and sounded an alarm.

The ADSB data (Automatic Dependent Surveillance by Broadcasting) shows that the aircraft is passing the airport runway and is making a new approach maneuver after deviating from the route. The flight did not lose altitude until the beginning of the descent on land.

Ethiopian Airlines says the plane landed safely after communications were restored. According to the airline, appropriate measures will be taken based on the investigations into the incident. “Safety has always been and will continue to be our top priority,” the company said in a statement.

In March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX with 149 passengers and eight crew members on board crashed in Ethiopia. The crash happened six minutes after takeoff. After investigations, the Ethiopian government cleared the pilots of responsibility for the accident.

The American aircraft manufacturer Boeing has admitted to errors in the flight simulator software of the model of the plane involved in the tragedy, the 737 MAX. Months before the crash in Ethiopia, a Lion Air plane of the same model crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 people.

Analysis of the black box of the Ethiopian Airlines crash showed “clear similarities” to the crashed Lion Air plane, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport. Boeing was accused of fraud for failing to provide full information about the 737 MAX’s approval process and explained itself ready to pay $2.5 billion for the crashes. The last Ethiopian Airlines accident before 2019 was in January 2010, when a plane with 90 passengers on board crashed shortly after takeoff in Lebanon.