Friday 29 March 2024

Quick thinking Somaliland Air Traffic Controller saves over 500 people

The Somaliland Civil Aviation and Airports Authority (SCAAA) has reported that an Emirates Boeing 777 and an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX narrowly avoided a collision while flying over Somaliland. 

The incidence occurred on the 24th of March, about a month after two other aircraft nearly collided in the same airspace, adding to the growing concerns about safety and air traffic control competency in the region.

Flying at the exact same altitude the latest incident involved Emirates flight EK722 en route to Dubai and an Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET690 en route to Bengaluru.

According to the SCAAA, the two aircraft nearly collided at approximately 00:43 EAT (21:43 UTC) while flying at 37,000 ft. They had reportedly received conflicting instructions from air traffic controllers in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.


The Emirates triple seven (A6-EGN) was flying from Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta (NBO/HKJK) to Dubai International Airport (DXB/OMDB). EK722 departed Nairobi at 19:54 UTC and eventually landed safely in Dubai at 00:29 UTC.


The Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX (ET-AWH) was flying from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD/HAAB) to Bengaluru Kempegowda International (BLR/VOBL). 

ET690 departed Addis at 20:36 UTC and landed safely in Bangalore at 01:55 UTC.

Part of the SCAAA's statement read, "Thanks to the quick thinking and decisive actions of Somaliland Air Traffic Controllers, in collaboration with the pilot of Ethiopian Airlines, catastrophe was averted as the ETH690 pilot swiftly ascended to 39,000 ft, mere moments before disaster could have struck.".

A thorough investigation has been opened.

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