Ethiopian Airlines said it has removed the concerned crew from operation who were reported to be allegedly sleeping during the flight from Khartoum to Addis Ababa and lost communication with Addis Ababa Air Traffic Control on 15 August 2022.
The Airline didn’t mention the claim that the pilots were sleeping.
“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,” said the Airline in a statement.
According to The Aviation Herald, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800, registration ET-AOB performing flight ET-343 from Khartoum (Sudan) to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), was en-route at FL370 when the pilots fell asleep.
It's stated in the report that Air Traffic Control tried to contact the crew numerous times without success. After overflying the runway the autopilot disconnected, the disconnect wailer woke the crew up who then maneuvered the aircraft for a safe landing on the runway about 25 minutes after overflying the runway.
Kaleyesus Bekele, an aviation reporter said such incidents happen a number of times, though unacceptable.
“I even have read quite a number of stories of pilots sleeping while on autopilot and this means there are far more unreported similar cases. The Ethiopian pilots may have slept as is reported. But given the short distance of the flight, their sleeping is a bit confusing,” he said.
The aircraft remained on the ground for about 2.5 hours before departing for its next flight.
The data from Flight Aware shows that took off from Khartoum International Airport on Monday, Aug 15, 03:27 am CAT and landed at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa on time on 06:15 am EAT.
Addis Zeybe reached out to the Public Relations officer of Ethiopian Airlines on the telephone and didn’t respond.