Ethiopia counters Kenya airspace safety claim

Ethiopian authorities have criticised allegations made by the Kenyan Air Traffic Controllers Association about the safety of its airspace.

The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) said it ‘fully and categorically’ rejected the ‘false and baseless’ statements circulated by KATCA and said it was working in close collaboration with the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority on cross border flight co-ordination following strike action by controllers in Ethiopia.

KATCA chief executive Peter Ang’awa had said the industrial dispute between the Ethiopian air traffic controllers and their management posed a ‘grave’ danger to aircraft flying through Addis Ababa with some flights originating from there entering Nairobi airspace with incorrect flight levels.

“Some Eastbound flights are coming in with westbound flight levels while some westbound flights have eastbound levels increasing chances of serious air misses.”

KATCA added that aircraft are entering Kenyan airspace from Addis Ababa at flight levels that are different from those passed by those manning the Addis Ababa airspace.

“Nairobi ACC is now overwhelmed because they have to pass one estimate even more than five times to the Addis Ababa ‘controllers’ who are unable to copy correct estimates.”

He said there had been several incidences of loss of standard separation between aircraft transferring between Addis Ababa and Nairobi.

Ethiopia’s ECAA said it had not received any complaints by any airline operating to/from Ethiopia or overflying the Ethiopian airspace.

Ethiopian Airlines Group issued its own statement to reassure passengers: “Since August 21, when the illegal strike started, Ethiopian Airlines has been working in close coordination with the ECAA and the volunteer air traffic controllers, ATC instructors and ATC controllers that it brought from other sister African countries. “It is successfully supporting the ECAA to enable the latter to efficiently and safely manage the Ethiopian airspace in line with global standards.”