By Wallace Mawire
Ethiopian Airlines Group, the largest aviation group in Africa and number 24 in the world, said that it would like to reassure its customers and the general travelling public that the Ethiopian Airspace remains very safe and highly secured even after the illegal strike of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Air Traffic Controllers.
The airline reported that since August 21, when the illegal strike started, Ethiopian Airlines has been working in close coordination with the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and the volunteer air traffic controllers, ATC instructors and ATC controllers that it brought from other sister African countries.
Mrs. Aniley Eshetu A/Manager Corporate Communications, Ethiopian Airlines said that the airline is successfully supporting the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority to enable the latter to efficiently and safely manage the Ethiopian airspace in line with global standards.
It is reported that as a result, all Ethiopian Airlines scheduled and unscheduled flights and other airlines operating to/from Ethiopia have been operating smoothly with high standards of flight punctuality and safety. “We would like to inform all our customers that we did not have any flight delay or cancellation caused by ATC. In fact, we are happy to announce that taxi-in, taxi-out and flight arrivals efficiency has improved significantly in the week under ATC strike.
We take this opportunity to thank the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority management, the volunteer ATC experts and all other stakeholders for the successful coordination, which enabled our country to continue business as usual in our airspace management,” she said.
In a statement,Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority titled Kenyan Air Traffic Controllers Association Statements Completely False,the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority said that it fully and categorically rejects the false and baseless statements circulated by the Kenyan Air Traffic Controllers Association in their circular of 30 August 2018 regarding the safety of Ethiopian airspace following the illegal strike of Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority said that it would like to assure the wider public as well as airlines, national civil aviation authorities and international and regional bodies that following the illegal strike by ATCs in Ethiopia, the Area Control Center (ACC) in Addis Ababa is being manned by adequate number of well trained, highly capable instructors and professionals who are current for the positions with the necessary ratings and validation in accordance with ICAO Annex 1 provisions.
The authority said that similarly, the approach and aerodrome positions are also manned with professionals possessing all the qualifications. It said that the controllers that have come in for support or assistance following the illegal strike were all assigned with the necessary orientation and on the job trainings before they were released solo, per the standard practice.
“With regard to the specific false statements and outright lies contained in the circular of the Kenyan Air Traffic Controllers Association, these can be easily verified as all ATC activities and communications are recorded and protected,” they said.
It said that to date, the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority has not received any complaint by any airline operating to/from Ethiopia or overflying the Ethiopian airspace. “All airlines are operating their scheduled and unscheduled flights smoothly, including our national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, which has the largest operations in Africa.
The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority will also like to inform the public that it is working in close collaboration with its good neighbor and partner, the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority, on cross border flight coordination”.
The wider public, national civil aviation authorities, international and regional bodies and airlines have been urged not to be not be misled by the false statements of the Kenya Air Traffic Controllers Association, whose aim is to lend support to an illegal strike in Ethiopia.
It is completely unacceptable and constitutes a clear lack of basic ethics and professionalism for the Kenyan Air Traffic Controllers to express solidarity with ATCs in Ethiopia that are illegally on strike by making false and misleading statements about the safety of Ethiopian airspace management,” they added.
It is added that the Kenya Air Traffic Controllers Association acted in an irresponsible way and has caused damage to the reputation of the Ethiopian Civil Authority.
“If the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority does not take the necessary action on the Association per its own national laws, the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority will take the issue to the concerned international body,” they said.
Lastly, the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority also informed the public that some of Air Traffic Controllers, who were on strike, have already returned to their normal duties.