An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-700, registration ET-ALN performing flight ET-363 from Djibouti (Djibouti) to Dire Dawa (Ethiopia), was on final approach to Dire Dawa’s runway 15 when the aircraft flew through a swarm of grasshoppers and received a huge number of insect impacts into engines, windshield and nose of the aircraft. The crew went around, attempted a second approach but again needed to go around and diverted to their ultimate destination Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), where the aircraft landed safely about 90 minutes after departure from Djibouti.
The aircraft remained on the ground for about 11.5 hours for cleaning and a thorough inspection, which found no damage.
The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported on Jan 6th 2020: “The Desert Locust situation remains extremely serious in the Horn of Africa where it threatens pastures and crops in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. Numerous swarms have formed in eastern Ethiopia and adjacent areas of northern Somalia. A number of large immature swarms moved south in the Ogaden of eastern Ethiopia and adjacent areas of central Somalia and reached southern Somalia, southeast Ethiopia and, on 28 December, northeast Kenya.” The FAO warns a dangerous situation arises at the Horn of Africa and on both sides of the Red Sea.
On Jan 15th 2020 The Aviation Herald received information based on a screenshot reportedly showing the report of the captain of the flight, that the aircraft was on approach to Dire Dawa’s runway 15 when the aircraft entered a swarm of locust, it was like rain. The windscreen wipers were not able to clear the windshield anymore. The crew went around, climbed to 8500 feet, depressurized the aircraft, opened the cockpit side window and cleaned the windscreen by hand. The same happened on second approach to Dire Dawa. The crew again climbed to 8500 feet, cleaned the windscreen by hand again and diverted to Addis Ababa.
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