Somalia and Emirates Deny Near Miss Between Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines

Both the Somali government and Emirates have refuted recent media reports alleging a close call between an Emirates Boeing 777 and an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX while flying over Somaliland this week.

The reports cited the Somaliland Civil Aviation and Airports Authority (SCAAA) and were detailed on X’s former (Twitter) account, claiming the incident occurred on Sunday evening, March 24.

According to the SCAAA’s report on Wednesday, Emirates Flight EK722 bound for Dubai and Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET690 bound for Bangalore reportedly came close to a collision at around 00:43 EAT (21:43 UTC) while flying at 37,000 ft, following conflicting instructions from air traffic controllers in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital.

However, on Wednesday, an Emirates spokesperson stated that their aircraft was not involved in any incident at 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,” the Emirates spokesperson said. “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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