Co-Pilot Hijacks Ethiopian Airlines Flight For Ayslum

An Ethiopian Airlines 767 flying from Addis Ababa to Rome yesterday was hijacked… by the 30 year old co-pilot. Apparently while the captain went to the bathroom the co-pilot “squawked 7500,” which is the code for a hijacking, and locked himself in the cockpit. This was somewhere over Sudan.

The first officer diverted the plane to Geneva, because he was seeking asylum in Switzerland. He circled around Geneva until his request for asylum was granted. The ATC audio of him requesting asylum is pretty interesting, as he uses the term “we.” Upon landing the first officer escaped with a rope through the cockpit window, before surrendering to police. Fortunately all passengers and crew were safe.

The flight was apparently close to running out of fuel due to how long it was circling over Geneva (while waiting for asylum to be granted), to the point that one engine supposedly flamed out. Via flightradar24, here’s the path of the plane around Geneva:


Here’s the latest press release from Ethiopian Airlines:

Ethiopian Airlines flight 702, on scheduled service departing from Addis Ababa on 17 February 2014 at 00:30 (local time) and scheduled to arrive in Rome at 04:40 (local time), was forced to proceed to Geneva Airport. Accordingly, the flight has landed safely at Geneva Airport and all passengers and crew are safe at Geneva Airport.

The cause of the diversion of the flight is under investigation. Ethiopian Airlines has made all the necessary arrangements to ensure that its esteemed passengers are being properly handled while in Geneva and can proceed to their intended destinations, to Rome and Milan, at the earliest.

Ethiopian Airlines wishes to apologize to its esteemed customers for the inconvenience caused by this diversion.

For more information, check out the International Business Times story.

Hmmm, and I was about to book a US Airways award that included travel on Ethiopian Airlines… doubt my mother would be okay with that anymore!

Crazy stuff…

Filed Under: Misc.
  1. I recently booked my first ET flight in March from KUL to BKK as part of a US award šŸ˜®

    At least if the co-pilot would decide to seek asylum in Switzerland, I could skip the stops in BKK and MUC on the way home… šŸ˜‰

  2. @Lucky this incident isn’t a reason why you should probably skip ET. Their in flight service isn’t anything to write home about.

  3. If you want a reason to skip ET, check out the crash from BEY to ADD a few years ago…that would really give you and your mother a real reason to worry…

  4. @ Eugene — To clarify, not saying it is a reason to worry, but as far as my mother is concerned… šŸ˜‰

  5. Yeah I hear you my parents worry too.

    I was actually on ET just yesterday ADD-SEZ, left ADD about 14 hours before ET702. Security seemed pretty standard in fact was annoyed at having to take my shoes off. Although they didn’t make crew take shoes off, just had them go through metal detectors.

    On my flight the co-pilot was very talkative which normally I like but I was so tired and he had a heavy accent (German) that I had no idea what he was talking about but he went on and on and into details about the 2 pilots in the cockpit with him how they were 2 of the most senior pilots ET has. Then something about how pressurization works on airplanes. Had I not been up and travelling for 24+ hours I would have really enjoyed it.

  6. This is another proof that the Prime Minster Hailemariam Desaegn’s adminstration is tightening it’s grip heavily chocking the life out of hinest working Ethiopians. Workers in Ethiopia are being treated as personal slaves of the ruling party. ZFarmers in Nazret have recnetly demanded an explanation why they are forced to sell their products only to the government controled distribution agency for a price set by the governmental agency. They ended up being beaten and thrown in jail while the agency sent their tugs and robbed their farms. The agency claimed it paid for the onions while in actuality it just robbed them and in turn sold their produces in an auction held on their land for a price 10 times more than the amount it was willing to pay the farmers. This inturn makes it hard on honest hard working people like this Co-pilot to be able to afford to feed their family. That is why people like this pilot are forced to raise questions on why after working hard they are loosing the fruit of their labor to the few government affiliated elites. Raising such questions can be a suicide move in Ethiopia and people flee every chance they get..

  7. Not a good week for ET – on Saturday they found a dead body in the wheel well of one of their planes at Dulles.

  8. Of all the bad lounge reports I’ve read, nothing tops the ET lounge at DJI or their Lounge at terminal 1 in ADD. The Reagan era seats in F on the 767 are also unique for a Star Alliance carrier. Throw in the threat of being hijacked by the employees and it seems like there must be a better way to get anywhere in Africa.

  9. Awesome, we are flying that exact route in two weeks. Hopefully I can get an upgrade from United to Swiss back to the States! šŸ˜€

  10. You shouldn’t let this stop you from trying out Ethiopian Airlines! Would love to see trip reports to more “exotic” locations and flights on more unique airlines!

  11. One of my segments in a few weeks was to be ADD to Beirut. I did not have a good feeling about it so I changed a few weeks ago.

  12. So, not sure what this guy is thinking? Does he really believe that he will have normal life in Switzerland now? Say goodbye to a great career and future. Not like a co-pilot could not emigrate at that age given all the locales he flies to and likely airlines he could fly for around the world?

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