Ops Group put out an urgent message that warrants attention.
“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.”
They go on to point out a recent incident. Kenyan ATC 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 – two aircraft head-on at FL370, a situation only resolved by TCAS.
Ops Group goes on: “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.”
An odd claim when we see the video and both aircraft FL370 crossing each other’s path.
The strike is over but the impact remains.