It appears that an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 accidentally landed at the wrong airport on a scheduled flight to Zambia today.
Ethiopian Airlines lands at the airport under construction
Ethiopian Airlines flight ET871 was scheduled to fly from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Ndola, Zambia this morning. The flight was operated by a five-year-old Boeing 737-800 with the registration code ET-AQP.
It is reported that the plane landed at the wrong airport:
- The plane was supposed to land at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport, the international airport currently in use in Ndola
- Instead, the plane landed at Copperbelt International Airport, the city’s new international airport that is nearing completion but not yet open
Somehow the plane accidentally landed at the new airport. After landing, it simply rolled back to the runway, took off and landed at the correct airport almost on schedule.
Below is a video of the plane taxiing at the new airport.
AN Ethopian Airlines is said to have landed at the new Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport, which is under construction in Ndola.
instead of the currently used.
– Mwebantu (@Mwebantu) April 4, 2021
And for fun, a video about the new airport below.
How could such a thing happen?
As advanced as aviation is, this is far from the first time a plane landed at the wrong airport, and it will be far from the last time it landed.
We don’t currently have a lot of information on what exactly happened, although I’m sure more details will become known as soon as an investigation is in. A couple of things stand out:
- As I understand it, the new airport is more like a large airport than the current one. That doesn’t justify landing at the wrong airport, of course, but when they approach visually it explains what might have contributed to this
- I was wondering if the ATC audio will be released from it. Was there a communication error or how did neither the pilots nor the air traffic controllers notice that the plane was landing at the new airport?
- I don’t think the airport under construction has an operational tower so it’s pretty amazing that the plane still arrived on time despite landing at the wrong airport. Have the pilots just made the decision to take off or was there a dialogue with the authorities at the airport?
Although details are currently limited, it is reported that an Ethiopian Airlines 737 accidentally landed at the wrong airport in Zambia today. Instead of landing at the current international airport in the city, the plane instead landed at the new international airport under construction, about 10 miles away. The plane took off pretty quickly and still arrived at the correct airport on time.
I am curious to see whether this will be investigated in more detail and, if so, what the cause is.