Yesterday, Ethiopian Flight 702 departing from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) with destination to Rome (FCO) was hijacked. The aircraft sent out beacon code 7500, which is code for Aircraft Hijacking.
The aircraft flew past its destination, FCO Airport, and headed for Geneva, Switzerland. At one point dropped to 12,000′ from over 16,000′ within a minute. Started leveling the aircraft at 7,000′ and repeatedly circled Geneva Airport.
Minutes before the aircraft landed, one of the engine flamed out and they had only few minutes of fuel left. Once landed, the pilots deplaned via the cockpit windows.
It has been reported that one man is in custody and all 200 passengers and crew on board the plane were in good health.
The reason for the hijacking remains unclear, although there are unconfirmed reports that at least some of those on board the aircraft may have been asking for asylum. Appears one of the pilot hijacked his own plane.
You can hear some of the inflight communication, CLICK HERE
Below is a transcript of some communication:
04:40Z: ETH702 is currently on tower frequency 118.70. It is using the callsign KK001 (could be the escort’s callsign). The aircraft has requested asylum. Tower has responded that they are working on the request but there is a delay “because everyone is asleep” (5am local time).
04:43Z: Request to hold over PAS approved. Still at 7,000MSL.
04:44Z: Aircraft is back on Geneva Approach.
04:45Z: 20 minutes of fuel remaining.
04:50Z: One engine has flamed out.
04:51Z: Geneva Appr: “I know you will not land without a response, but can I give you vectors for the ILS?”
04:53Z: ATC: “Turn right 230 for downwind.”
04:54Z: ATC: “We are still working on a response.”
04:54Z: ATC: “Turn right 320 for base.”
04:54Z: E001: “We will not land with out a positive response.”
04:56Z: ATC: “We have someone on the phone and will give you a response on short final. Descend to 4000, capture the glideslope.”
04:58Z: ATC suggesting a 360 because he does not have a response yet. ETH702 wants to continue.
04:59Z: ATC: “Runway 05, cleared to land”
05:00Z: 001: “We will be stopping on the runway”
05:02Z: ATC: “Can you taxi to the end of the runway?”
05:02Z: ATC: “ET702 is on the ground.”
05:03Z: 001: “I will be coming out via the window.”
05:08Z: 10+ fire dept. vehicles and airport vehicles moving around the airport.
05:09Z: All quiet on frequency.
05:10Z: Pilots stated they would be leaving the cockpit via the windows.
05:18Z: Geneva Tower to inquiring aircraft: “There is an incident going on, so for now, the Geneva Airport and aircspace is closed.”
05:31Z: UAL148 inbound to Geneva from Newark has made an 180 turn over France. It appears to be diverting northwest in the general direction of Paris. It is now holding.
05:32Z: ATC: “We plan on opening the airport at 7am local. The aircraft is still blocking the runway.”
05:38Z: Etihad 053 from Abu Dhabi has been diverted to Milan Malpensa.
05:53Z: ATC: “Airport is still closed”
05:54Z: All passengers and crew are SAFE.
06:01: ATC: “We have no further information on the situation. The airport is still closed and we are taking it hour by hour. The aircraft is still blocking the runway.”
06:02Z: New estimated opening time is 0700Z, 0800 local.
06:12Z: Passengers are still on board.
06:15Z: UAL148 has diverted to Milan, UAL974 has diverted to Zurich.
06:53Z: One hijacker has been arrested, sources indicate situation is under control.
06:54Z: ATC: “Expect normal operations in a few minutes.”
06:55Z: ATC has started to issue clearances again. ATC is asking pilots if they are ready to depart.
06:58Z: Police stated that the pilot has been arrested. Hijacked his own flight to declare asylum.
07:05Z: The airport is officially open again.
07:28Z: The first aircraft have departed since the airport has reopened. Operations are back to normal.