Ethiopian Airlines Cargo flight ET3891 was scheduled to operate from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Ndola, Zambia, on Sunday, 4 April. The flight was operated by 18-year-old Boeing 737-800 registered ET-AYL, which joined Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet only last week (the plane previously flew for Pegasus Airlines, and was then converted into a freighter).
The plane ended up landing at the wrong airport:
- It was supposed to land at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport, the international airport currently being used in Ndola
- Instead, the aircraft landed at Copperbelt International Airport, which is the new Ndola airport, nearing completion, but not yet open. This airport is located 9 nm west-northwest of the old one. Incidentally, the Copperbelt Airport is a major Chinese aviation infrastructure project in Zambia.
- After being told of their error, the pilots entered the runway again and took off to the right airport.
Here is video footage of the plane taxiing at the airport (with all the surprised construction workers, given that the airport isn’t yet open):
A second Ethiopian Boeing 737-800 almost made the same mistake
This story gets even stranger. A pilot in an African aviation group on Facebook reports that another Ethiopian Airlines plane almost made the same mistake two hours earlier.
Ethiopian Airlines flight ET871 was scheduled to operate from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Ndola, Zambia, on the same day (4 April), but two hours earlier. The flight was operated by a five-year-old Boeing 737-800 registered ET-AQP.
According to the pilot, this plane did a go-around at the airport under construction before flying to the correct airport.
Source: Adwoa Adubian News