This Eritrean Airlines Boeing 767 obviously has its front door un-latched at the time of landing. Click photo for larger view and check then door handle.

This Eritrean Airlines Boeing 767 obviously has its front door un-latched at the time of landing. Click photo for larger view and check the door handle. Photo by Ken Fielding.

Airline enthusiast Ken Fielding caught an interesting shot while spotting in Manchester (MAN) on December 27, 2004. He took this photo of an Eritrean Airlines Boeing 767-300ER being ferried from Paris-de Gaulle (CDG). At the time, he did not realize the significance of the photo and took a closer look when he recently uploaded it to Flickr. Take a close look near the front of the plane and you will notice that the front door (1R) is unlatched (click on the photo, zoom in and you can easily see the handle in the up position).

It appears that the door was put into that position while at  CDG and that the pressurization of the cabin kept the door closed during flight. Fielding reports that since the aircraft was on a ferry flight, there were no passengers on board. Still, that doesn’t give the crew a pass at not completing a simple task of flying safely: make sure all the doors are shut and locked. The crew should have noticed when arming the doors (which they obviously did not do) and/or there should have been an indicator in the cockpit.

I tried to reach out to Eritrean Airlines, but their website is not very helpful for finding contacts and since they are high-lighting stories from 2004, I am guessing it is not the most accurate. The airline went out of business in 2008, but started up again on July 16, 2011 with a pretty slick new livery.

Photo by Ken Fielding

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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Mark C. (OKC)

New livery says “Gateway to Africa”…… guess that means they’ll leave the door open more often?…..j/k. The new livery is nice, but somehow “Play Room” comes to mind…… like some sort of kids puzzle. Thanks David.

Years ago, I had to do an intermediate stop on a flight in order to re-seat the door handle. The door was closed….but the handle was not seated properly and was spinning around and around hitting the door.

Dawit Z.

Eritrean Airlines has no official website at the moment, they are using facebook right now so maybe you can get some information from there! 🙂 is just an Eritrean news website.
Hope that was helpful!

Jeff in Everett

Pilot: What is that ding ding ding sound?
Co-Pilot: Not sure (pulling out flight manual)…
Pilot: Well
Co-Pilot (flipping through pages): It says, “door ajar”

Sorry, that’s all I got… good thing it’s a funny story, not a tragic ending to peoples’ lives. But it does give thought to those that have attempted to open the door/emergency exits in flight. It ain’t gonna happen.

So, no reports of the incident available?

No need to. It was a ferry flight with no passengers, I doubt that the flight crew wanted to report it on their own. Makes me wonder who many other times this sort of thing has happened and wasn’t caught by a photographer.


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