According to reports, the event happened on Monday as the plane was en route from Khartoum, the city of Sudan, to Bole Airport in Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia.
New Delhi: Late on Thursday, the commercial aviation news website Aviation Herald reported that the pilots of an Ethiopian Airlines plane dozed off in midair and missed their landing in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. According to news agency Bloomberg, the pilots were then suspended until an inquiry was conducted.
According to reports, the incident happened on Monday when the plane was en route from Khartoum, Sudan, to Bole Airport in Addis Abeba.
According to Aviation Herald, as the flight operated by Africa's largest carrier neared the airport but did not complete the landing, Air Traffic Control (ATC) sounded an alarm.
The aircraft was flying automatically, maintaining a 37,000-foot altitude.
According to a statement from the largest airline in Africa, the ATC made repeated attempts to get in touch with the ET343's pilots but was unsuccessful.
"The autopilot disconnected when the aircraft crossed the runway where it was intended to land. That set off an alert, which woke up the pilots, according to the news outlet.
However, the plane landed safely, the outlet added, after they reportedly positioned the aircraft for landing on the runway 25 minutes later.
The report further stated that after landing, the plane stayed there for around 2.5 hours before taking off for its subsequent voyage.
The occurrence was corroborated by the ADS-B aviation surveillance system, which also published a picture of the aircraft's flight route, which depicts an infinity-like loop close to the Addis Abeba airport.
A request for comment on the Bloomberg report was not immediately answered by Ethiopian Airlines.
A similar occurrence happened earlier this year when two pilots on a flight from New York to Rome passed out in midair.
Although the precise cause of the most recent incident is unknown, and the airline made no comments on the topic, aviation experts suggested that pilot weariness may have played a role.
"Pilot tiredness is nothing new, and it still represents one of the biggest hazards to global aviation safety. Pilots publicly criticized UK leisure airline Jet2 just last week for failing to acknowledge pilot fatigue concerns, according to aviation analyst Alex Macheras, who called the most recent incident "deeply concerning" in a Thursday Twitter post.