Ethiopia ATC strike: risk to all crews

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Ethiopia ATC strike: risk to all crews


Post by howie » Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:18 am

Picked up from a posting in Flight Service Bureau

The situation developing in east Africa right now is deeply worrying, and this is why I'm up at midnight in Switzerland sending you this.

Last week, 120 Ethiopian Air Traffic Controllers announced a strike. Approximately 100 of them have now been banned from operating, and 10 of them - including the Chief Controller, Senior ATCOs, Radar controllers, Approach controllers, and Tower controllers - were arrested for striking and are in jail in Addis Ababa. So far, there has been no coverage of this in US or European press. There are no Notams about this.

The enroute centre (HAAA/Addis FIR) and the main tower (HAAB/Bole Airport) are staffed by a mix of retired, unqualified, and trainee controllers. Neighbouring centers, like Nairobi, have written letters with long lists of unsafe and non-standard coordination. In short, they don't know how to handle the traffic.

Kenyan ATC have highlighted this incident - an Ethiopian 737 and a Neos 767 - during the strike as an example of the risk - they were not notified of the southbound aircraft, no estimate or coordination. The video shows two aircraft head on at FL370, the situation only resolved by TCAS.

And yet, the government: Ethiopian CAA, and Ethiopian Airlines deny that there is any risk whatsoever:

"Ethiopian Airlines Group, the largest aviation group in Africa and number 24 in the world, would like to reassure its customers and the general travelling public that the Ethiopian Airspace remains very safe and highly secured even after the illegal strike of the Ethiopian Air Traffic Controllers ... all Ethiopian Airlines scheduled and unscheduled flights and other airlines operating to/from Ethiopia have been operating smoothly with high standards of flight punctuality and safety. We would like to inform all our customers that we did not have any flight delay or cancellation caused by ATC. In fact, we are happy to announce that taxi-in, taxi-out and flight arrivals efficiency has improved significantly in the week under ATC strike."

This is a complete and utter lie - but this version of events is being allowed to propagate.

We report to you - our 4000 OpsGroup members - and the 50,000 readers of our weekly bulletin: you the Pilot, you the Dispatcher, you the Air Traffic Controller, you the Ops Specialist - and my job is to make sure we present the truth of the situation.

The warnings in our original summary remain very much valid: Ethiopia risking flight safety to cover up ATC strike.

Now, I'm asking for your help. If you are operating in the region, speak up. Tell us what you know and what you've seen on the ground, so we can share the real risk picture with other crews and operators. What have you experienced in the Addis FIR, the Nairobi FIR, the Khartoum FIR? Anyone that has shared anything with us before knows that we treat all information as completely anonymous unless you state otherwise.

We've seen this pattern before, not least with MH17. The State does not want to tell us what's really going on. And those of us that do know the risks, haven't been able to share that effectively with others.

Help us to get the information out there to your colleagues. Hit reply to reach me direct, or email us at, or file a Fox Report. You tell us, we'll tell the others - it's that simple.

Thank you for sharing and helping us all be aware of the risks.

Kind regards,

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Re: Ethiopia ATC strike: risk to all crews


Post by Bell 407 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:27 am

Jeepers, that could not have been nice in the cockpit :yikes: :yikes: :yikes:

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