Two Pilots suspended after falling asleep on board Ethiopian airlines

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According to Aviation Herald, two Ethiopian pilots fell asleep during a flight from Sudan to Ethiopia on Monday and missed their landing.

The incident took place on board Boeing 737-800, an Ethiopian Airlines flying from Khartoum to Addis Ababa. 

The report said, "when the pilots fell asleep, the aircraft continued past the top of descent."

Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines

According to the information from the website, the aircraft was cruising at 37,000 feet on autopilot when it failed to descend at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on Monday, August 15, 2022.

Several efforts were made to reach the pilots but were to no avail.

An alarm was triggered when the plane overshot the runway and continued along the route.

The aircraft finally landed about 25 minutes later, the report said.

On Friday, Ethiopian Airlines said that "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 August 15 2022.

"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.

An aviation analyst, Alex Macheras, expressed "concerns" over the incident. 

"Air traffic controllers tried to contact the pilots numerous times without success; after overflying the runway (still at cruising altitude), the autopilot disconnected - and this chime alert woke the pilots up — who then initiated a descent and eventually made a safe landing."

Mr Alex attributed the incident to possible "Pilot fatigue," saying "it is nothing new, and continues to pose one of the most significant threats to air safety-Internationally."

"Just last week, pilots publicly criticised UK leisure airline Jet2 for "refusing to recognise concerns about pilot fatigue."

He added, "A timely reminder that pilot fatigue is widespread, an issue across the airline spectrum, sometimes systematic, and poses a major threat to air safety."

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines have suspended the pilots pending further investigations. 

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