In the summer of 2012, I took Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and on to Johannesburg, South Africa, roundtrip. The flight from Washington Dulles is non stop to Addis (then on to Jo-burg). But the return flight from Addis is scheduled to stop in Rome, for refueling, and to let passengers off, if any. We refueled on the tarmac, never let anyone off, and proceeded to Washington Dulles after about 30 minutes on the ground. The reason for the extra stop on the way back is simply the thin air in Addis, forcing the plane to carry less fuel for the takeoff than its nonstop that leaves Dulles. This is the same plane and flight that was hijacked yesterday.
Rome-bound passenger jet was “forced to proceed” to Geneva early Monday when its co-pilot took control of the aircraft while the pilot was in the bathroom, an official said.
Geneva airport chief executive Robert Deillon told reporters that the co-pilot — an Ethiopian who wanted to seek asylum in Switzerland — locked himself in the cockpit after taking control.
The co-pilot then left the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 through a window on a rope.
Geneva police spokesman Eric Grandjean said that when the co-pilot approached officers on the ground he “announced that he was himself the hijacker.”
The hijacking began over Italy, Switzerland’s southern neighbor, and two Italian fighter jets were scrambled to accompany the plane, Deillon told the AP. Passengers on the plane were unaware it had been hijacked, officials said.
Earlier, police told The Associated Press that Flight ET-702 made an unscheduled landing in the Swiss city at 6 a.m. local time (midnight ET) and an alleged hijacked was arrested. Police spokesman Jean-Philippe Brandt added that nobody on the flight was injured.
The Boeing 767 airliner had issued a coded signal to air traffic controllers to report it had been hijacked, according to monitoring website Flightradar24.
I doubt I will ever fly that airline again. It is part of United’s Star Alliance, and we (my buddy Mike and I) got our First Class round trip tickets using our Mileage Plan miles. On top of that, they serve that awful injera (fermented bread) on the flight, as well as regular menu food.
On the subject of airlines, I was on a similar flight in Katmandu, Nepal some years ago. It was a “sister” airline, named Buddha Air, that we took for a close up view of Mount Everest. Several have crashed since. This one seems close to home!!! Here is part of the story:
Rescuers on Monday found the wreckage of a plane that slammed into a snow-covered mountain in Nepal and burst into flames, killing 18 people, including a child, authorities said.
Moving slowly through thick snow, rescuers walked for 13 kilometers (8 miles) to the crash site. Air traffic control had lost contact with the plane on Sunday afternoon in poor visibility due to snow, rain and fog.
“Our plane was technically airworthy and we believe it was the weather that caused the crash,” said Ram Hari Sharma of Nepal Airlines. He said there will be a full investigation.
The state-run airline is often criticized over allegations of corruption and flying old planes. Last year, the European Union banned all Nepalese airlines from flying to Europe because of poor safety records.