The incident occurred on an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 en route from Khartoum to Addis Ababa, the report said, “as the pilots fell asleep” and “the plane continued to pass through the landing crest.”
Data obtained by the website showed the plane was cruising at 37,000 feet on autopilot when it failed to land at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, its intended destination, on the 15th. August.
Air traffic control appeared to be unable to contact the crew despite repeated attempts to contact them. However, an alarm was triggered as the plane crossed the runway and continued along the route.
The plane then began to descend, landing safely about 25 minutes later.
Automatic dependent monitor-broadcast (ADS-B) data shows the aircraft crossing the runway, before starting to descend and maneuver for a different approach.
“We have received a report that Ethiopian flight number ET343 en route from Khartoum to Addis Ababa temporarily lost contact with Addis Ababa Air Traffic Control on August 15, 2022,” said a statement issued by Ethiopian. Airlines launched on Friday.
“The flight subsequently landed safely after communication was restored. The crew involved has been removed from the operation pending further investigation.
“Appropriate corrective action will be taken based on the results of the investigation. Safety has always been and will continue to be our top priority,” the statement said.
Aviation analyst Alex Macheras has since taken to Twitter to express his shock at the “deeply concerning incident”, which he said could have been caused by pilot burnout.
“Pilot fatigue is nothing new and continues to pose one of the most significant threats to aviation safety – internationally,” he tweeted on Thursday.
“Fatigue, both acute and cumulative, has become Southwest Airlines’ number one safety threat,” the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, or SWAPA, told airline executives in a letter. in April.
According to the letter, the demand for air travel increased as the industry began to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, and the chaos of flight cancellations due to inclement weather was one of the reasons why pilots were exhausted. increasing power.
In May, the Italian newspaper Repubblica reported that an ITA pilot had been fired after “dozing off” during a flight between New York and Rome.
The co-pilot was believed to be on “allowed rest” at the time, which resulted in the Airbus A330 losing contact with air traffic control for 10 minutes, according to the report.