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Ethiopian ATC strike creates airspace mess

Ethiopian ATC strike creates airspace mess

The strike of Ethiopian Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) which began on Monday August 27 has created a mess on the management of aircraft flying in and out of the Ethiopian Airspace causing a possibility of air misses, according to a statement from Kenyan Air Traffic Controllers Association (KATCA) which was also copied to International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA), Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA), and The International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Although the Ethiopian side have brought in retired ATCs as well as foreign operators to mitigate the ongoing challenges, the KATCA observed that, “There have been several incidents of loss of standard separation between aircrafts at the point of transfer between Addis Ababa and Nairobi due to wrong or no estimates from Addis Ababa …The few estimates passed to Nairobi by Addis Ababa in most cases are wrong, the aircraft call signs are wrong, the aircraft types on estimates are wrong and sometimes even the destinations as passed are wrong.”

The statement also indicated that, "Letters of agreement between Addis Ababa and Nairobi on co-ordination procedures are not being followed. Flights inbound Nairobi from Addis Ababa are calling Nairobi Control tower without prior estimates, with the possibility of creating serious air-misses with known traffic at the transfer point.”

Similarly, the statement indicated that the retired ATCs who “have no understanding of the airspace, do not know the coordination procedures, are overwhelmed, and too slow and can neither pass or copy estimates correctly.”

 Hence, it called up on the concerned parties to find a lasting solution for the standoff.