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Somalia, Emirates dismiss reports of a near miss between Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines

Thursday March 28, 2024

Mogadishu (HOL) — The Somali government and Emirates separately denied media reports that an Emirates Boeing 777 and an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX narrowly avoided a collision while flying over Somaliland this week.

The media report quoting the Somaliland Civil Aviation and Airports Authority (SCAAA) detailed on X formerly (Twitter) that the incident allegedly occurred on Sunday evening, March 24.

The SCAAA reported on Wednesday that Emirates Flight EK722, en route to Dubai, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET690, en route to Bangalore, nearly collided at approximately 00:43 EAT (21:43 UTC) while flying at 37,000 ft after receiving conflicting instructions from air traffic controllers in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

However, on Wednesday, an Emirates spokesperson stated that their aircraft was not involved in any incident on the specified date and time.

"Emirates can confirm that there was no instance of an aircraft proximity event compromising the safety of the aircraft over the airspace and during the date and time in question," according to a statement from an Emirates spokesperson. "All Emirates aircraft are equipped with capabilities to maintain safe separation and distance during operations."

The Somali Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) also confirmed to HOL that both airlines were not flying in the same direction. The Emirates Boeing 777 was flying from Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta (NBO) to Dubai International Airport (DXB), while the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX was flying from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) to Bengaluru Kempegowda International (BLR). The SCAA labeled the news as baseless propaganda.

According to Flightradar24 data, Emirates operates up to two daily flights between the two cities. On March 24, Flight EK722 departed Nairobi at 19:54 UTC and landed safely in Dubai at 00:29 UTC. Meanwhile, ET690 departed Addis at 20:36 UTC and landed safely in Bangalore at 01:55 UTC.

Ethiopian Airlines was not available for comment at the time of publishing.
The Somali Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) manages the airspace over Somalia and the surrounding ocean. The SCAA added that the incident is deemed politically motivated propaganda.

In February, a Qatar Airways 787 and an Ethiopian Airlines Airbus A350 narrowly avoided a mid-air collision about 180 NM northeast of Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, after receiving conflicting instructions.
Tensions between the self-declared independent Republic of Somaliland and the Somali Federal Government have escalated due to a maritime agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed an MoU with Somaliland President Muse Bihi in Addis Ababa on January 1 to gain access to the Red Sea in exchange for a stake in Ethiopian Airlines, the country's flagship carrier. The Somali government has firmly rejected the memorandum of understanding.


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