‘Ethiopian’ flight intercepted after losing radio contact with ATC centres

*The Hellenic Air Force discloses it deployed two GRC F-16 jets, after an hour after communication loss, and a scramble order from the Combined Air Operations Centre in South Europe, to intercept flight ET-3717, and its communication was restored with the Air Traffic Control centres

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Fighter aircraft flying over Greece has intercepted Ethiopian Airlines (EA) flight ET-3717, after reportedly losing radio contact with multiple Air Traffic Control (ATC) centres for over an hour.

It was learnt flight  ET-3717, operated by an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767-300 freighter registered ET-ALO, October 15, 2022, had begun its journey from Liege, in Belgium, and was en route to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian capital.

However, following its crossover from Croatia’s airspace, where the flight was in contact with Zagreb Centre, radio contact with the aircraft was lost, AeroTime report said.

Radio silence

Though the aircraft remained on its planned flight path (via Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and into Greece), multiple calls were made by the various ATC centres as well as other aircraft to raise the crew on all available frequencies, including the International Guard Frequency.

But there was no answer at which point the Athens Centre alerted that fighter aircraft would be scrambled to intercept the aircraft, report stated.

The Hellenic Air Force, in a statement issued Thursday to AeroTime said over an hour after communication was lost, a scramble order from the CAOC Torrejon – the responsible Combined Air Operations Centre in south Europe – was given to intercept flight ET-3717.

The statement also noted that the “two GRC F-16 jets were scrambled at 18:45.”

A Spokesperson from the Hellenic Air Force told AeroTime that flight ET-3717 was intercepted 10NM south of Kithira Island, upon which radio communication between the aircraft and the ATC was re-established.

Sequel to radio response from the crew, the GRC F-16 jets returned to base, while flight ET-3717 continued along its flight path and landed at its destination in Addis Ababa with no further incidents recorded, according to report.

No official cause has been reported concerning the extended period of radio silence and Ethiopian Airlines is yet to issue an official statement as of the time of filing this report.

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