April 16, 2024

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Ethiopian Airlines & Emirati planes escape a collision over Somalia

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An Ethiopian Airlines plane narrowly escaped a collision with an Emirates Airways plane over Mogadishu on Sunday.

On Sunday March 24, Ethiopian airlines and Emirates Airways planes narrowly averted a collision. Reportedly in the early hours of Sunday, March 24, 2024, a nail-biting incident unfolded in the airspace above Mogadishu at approximately 12:43 AM EAT. An Emirates Airways Plane (UAE722), and an Ethiopian Airlines jet (ETH690), both cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet, narrowly avoided a catastrophic collision. This perilous situation arose when allegedly Mogadishu’s Air Traffic Control issued erroneous directives.

Somaliland air traffic controller intervened to avert the collision reportedly. Somaliland Civil Aviation Authority today issued a statement, confirming the incident. It accused Mogadishu of endangering international flights.

This is is the second incident in Somalia’s airspace in a month involving an Ethiopian airlines plane missing a collision. On 24th February 2024, Ethiopian airlines and Qatar Airways planes came close to a collision allegedly due to wrong instructions passed by Mogadishu based air traffic controller. Somalia’s civil aviation authority denied the incident. But Somaliland, a self declared unrecognized country, issued a statement confirming the incident.

The two incidents seem linked to an MoU signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland on January 1,2024. The MoU has sparked regional tensions. Under the MoU, Ethiopian would gain access to the sea through Somaliland in return for recognizing Somaliland as a country. Somalia has been vehemently opposing the MoU, calling it an attack on Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as Somaliland is internationally recognized part of Somalia.

Since the signing of the MoU, tensions have been rising between Ethiopia and Somalia, Somalia and Somaliland. Somalia denied access to an Ethiopian airline and an Emirati plane into Somaliland airspace last month sparking fight for control of airspace between Somalia and Somaliland.

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