Two airline pilots suspended after FALLING ASLEEP and overshooting their destination airport

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Image of two airline pilots at the controls of an aircraft. Credit: Carlos E. Santa Maria/

Ethiopian Airlines has suspended two pilots who allegedly fell asleep resulting in the aircraft overshooting its destination airport.

As reported on Thursday, August 18, by the specialised media publication Aviation Herald, the crew of a commercial Ethiopian Airlines flight is suspended pending an investigation. This action has been taken after its two pilots fell asleep and missed the scheduled landing at their destination airport.

While flying on autopilot at 37,000 feet (11,000m) both pilots fell asleep. This resulted in the 154-passenger aircraft continuing past the destination point where it was supposed to begin its descent to land on runway 25L at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

Air traffic controllers were also allegedly unable to communicate with the crew in time despite making several contact attempts. After overshooting the runway the autopilot disconnected, and the subsequent sound from the disconnect wailer woke the crew up. They proceeded to land the jet safely some 25 minutes later.

A spokesperson for Ethiopian Airlines assured in a statement that: “The flight later landed safely after communication was restored”. After the incident, the airline reported on August 20, that the crew of this flight had been removed from future operations, pending a more thorough investigation into the event.

“Pilot fatigue is nothing new and continues to represent one of the most important threats to aviation safety at the international level”, aviation analyst Alex Macheras pointed out in a tweet.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at