Ethiopian Airlines B737 lands at the wrong Ndola (Zambia) airport

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  • AMcWhirter
    Participant

    An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 lands at wrong airport (under conctruction) in Zambia

    On April 4 an Ethiopian Airlines B737 operating a cargo flight from Addis to Ndola landed at the incorrect airport.

    Instead of landing at the current airport its B737 touched down at the new and still unopened Copperbelt International.

    An embedded video in the above report shows the B737 taxiiing at the new and unopened airport much to the surprise of the construction workers.


    sparkyflier
    Participant

    Thank you for posting this Alex. Just wondered if ET has offered any “explanation” about this? Although this story has an amusing element it is also somewhat alarming.

    Separately, I seem to recall that SQ had a crash years ago in Taiwan when they landed on a wrong runway? I stand to be corrected.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    In fact the SIA crash at Taipei involved a B747 on departure for Los Angeles. (At that time SQ held fifth-freedom rights for TPE-LAX)

    https://www.flightglobal.com/sia-747-crashed-attempting-take-off-from-closed-runway-/34880.article

    As for the Ethiopian Airways incident there are more details in AV Herald:

    https://avherald.com/h?article=4e56f087&opt=0

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    TominScotland
    Participant

    Likewise, many years ago there was the Ryanair flight which landed at Ballykelly military base instead of the City of Derry Airport….

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2006/mar/30/theairlineindustry.travelnews#:~:text=Ryanair%20confirmed%20that%20the%20plane,Derry%20airport%20at%2014.40%20today

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    fatbear
    Participant

    I remember Ryanair turning this around to their advantage with an advertising campaign regarding their new low cost base, run with military precision, spartan costs etc

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    A colleague in Tanzania reminded me that in 2013 Ethiopian did exactly the same thing mistaking Arusha for Kilimanjaro.

    There was quite a crowd gathered 2 days later when the 767 departed with a pilot specially flown in.

    http://avherald.com/h?article=46d32419

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    From what I can gather in fact this happened twice in a couple of days and it seems that the pilots were blameless.

    Stupidly the new unfinishedCopperbelt International Airport had been renamed ‘Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport’ exactly the same name as the existing airport which the previous week had been renamed ‘Ndola International’. Sheer genius !
    The flight crews were both “simply following orders” and had moments when they realised that they were going to the wrong place but needed to follow flight OPS instruction and the ICAO code.
    The above may not be 100% correct but it is the gist of what happened.
    Ethiopian is a much respected in the industry with a good record and excellent pilots


    SimonS1
    Participant

    From what I can gather in fact this happened twice in a couple of days and it seems that the pilots were blameless.

    Twice in 2 hours in fact.

    https://wwww.aviation24.be/airlines/ethiopian-airlines/an-ethiopian-airlines-boeing-737-800-lands-at-wrong-airport-under-conctruction-in-zambia/amp/

    No other airlines have made a similar error but hats off to the airmen at Ethiopian.

    Ethiopian is number 97 of 100 on the JACDEC safety rankings for 2020, right next to Lion Air and Garuda, so I would question the “much respected/good record” bit.

    https://www.jacdec.de/Order/2020_JACDEC_AIRLINE_RISK_RANKING-4gq_ENG.pdf


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    event he mighty USAF suffered from wrong airportitus in 2012

    https://www.flyingmag.com/news/cause-c-17-landing-too-small-airport-revealed/

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    GivingupBA
    Participant

    That must have been an exciting landing at Arusha airport for a 767. The runway is only 5315 feet long, which is about one mile. I would not have appreciated being one of the passengers on that 767.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    That must have been an exciting landing at Arusha airport for a 767. The runway is only 5315 feet long, which is about one mile. I would not have appreciated being one of the passengers on that 767.

    Yep. Stayed on the tarmac on landing but got stuck when they tried a 180 turn on the runway.

    I didn’t know until my colleague told me that you can somehow add water to the engine to add propulsion on the take off. You can see it in the video where there is a burst of steam.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    The whole affair seems even to this day rather murky.
    From available reports there was no problem with the takeoff as the aircraft was empty and the runway was of adequate length – no steam needed on this occasion!

    For those who may be interested some posts from AV Herald and a report from Air Safety Network

    Quotes:
    I was in that plane
    By N on Sunday, Dec 29th 2013 12:17Z

    The crew did not want to inflate the emergency slides, we had to force them away from the door, re-arm the slides by ourselves and open the front door.

    At least 100 people (police, fireman, military, airport officials) were on the runway, taking pictures with their phones, and no one gave us any explanation, no words from the pilot, nothing.

    Funny now, but it was not quite funny 2 weeks ago.

    I was in that plane
    By N on Sunday, Dec 29th 2013 12:17Z

    I was in that plane.

    The landing was rough, and I think we where too fast on the runway so at the end of it the pilot stuck the plane in the grass.

    Then, we were stuck for 3.5 hours in the plane.

    The crew kept telling us we were at the right airport, that it was in fact Kilimanjaro airport (lol).

    First, they parked a fire truck under the rear door of the plane and tried to put a ladder between the roof of the truck and the door of the plane. But they said it was too risky, so the truck went away.

    We landed at approx 1pm, opened the emergency slides at 4pm, the stairs arrived from Kilimanjaro airport (50km away) at 6pm, there was no one left in the plane except the crew by then.

    By Timmy on Tuesday, Dec 24th 2013 14:06Z

    Something strikes me. What was the purpose of the “back-track”? I hope it´s not what I guess.

    By AM on Monday, Dec 23rd 2013 20:25Z

    There is no such thing as a fuel emergency. And relying on declaring an emergency after sitting in the hold does not sound like good airmanship to me.

    You only declare an emergency for fuel when landing with less than final reserve is not assured. Therefore Gunni they were obviously into their alternate fuel. In my mind that’s a huge no no, it’s a heavy jet with passengers, not a bug smasher. Everyone knows the PLOG has some play, but siting in the hold on a CAVOK today I will have my final reserve plus my alternate fuel, I will divert when I hit this fuel figure. End of. You can’t just rely on a light aircraft being moved clear in time no matter what ATC are assuring you.

    I was always told never be the man with only one option when you’re sitting in a cockpit. Sitting in the hold until you have to declare an emergency to make it legal to land leaves you with one option. A piss poor one at that.

    From ASN

    “Date: 18-DEC-2013
    Time: 12:48
    Type: Silhouette image of generic B763 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
    Boeing 767-383ER
    Owner/operator: Ethiopian Airlines
    Registration: ET-AQW
    C/n / msn: 24476/274
    Fatalities: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 223
    Other fatalities: 0
    Aircraft damage: Minor
    Location: Arusha Airport (ARK/HTAR) – Tanzania
    Phase: Landing
    Nature: Passenger – Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
    Departure airport: Addis Ababa-Bole Airport (ADD)
    Destination airport: Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO)
    Narrative:
    Ethiopian Airlines flight ET-815 from Addis Ababa-Bole Airport (ADD) to Mombasa via Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) inadvertently landed at Arusha Airport (ARK).
    Whilst descending to FL 240 the pilot made the first contact with the Kilimanjaro International Airport. He reported that he had been cleared by the Dar es Salaam Area Control Centre to descend to FL 240 estimating the reporting point LOSIN 09:37 hours, and touchdown at Kilimanjaro at 09:50 hours.
    At 09:29 hours the pilot was informed by the Kilimanjaro Approach that runway 09 (the runway with instrument arrival) was not available due to a disabled aircraft at the approach end. He was advised to use the reciprocal runway (runway 27) which had 3,300 metres available for the landing. This runway was not equipped with instrument landing system. The pilot acknowledged the clearance at 09:31 hours. He was cleared to FL 120 EVATO 1A arrival, and was advised to report on breaking visual for runway 27.
    At 09:43 hours the pilot reported to have airport in sight and advised that he would be joining left downwind runway 27. The controller instructed Flight ETH-815 to report left base runway 27. The pilot acknowledged.
    At 09:45 hours the pilot requested the position of the disabled Caravan 1. The reply indicated 300 metres from the threshold of runway 09 and the available landing distance of 3,300 meters for runway 27. At 09:46 hours the pilot reported left base. He was given the surface wind 080/02 and cleared to land.
    When the controller failed to see to the aircraft, he tried to raise it on the Kilimanjaro frequency but there was no reply. It was during the repeated calls that he received a telephone call from the Arusha tower informing him that ET-AQW had landed at Arusha airport.
    The aircraft made a safe landing on runway 27 of Arusha airport and stopped within the length of the runway (1631 m). During an attempted 180 degrees turn, the nose and main landing gear wheels exited the runway and were stuck in soft soil. There was no damage to the aircraft. There were also no injuries to the 223 persons on board.
    The aircraft was later towed back to the runway and made a successful takeoff without passengers for Kilimanjaro International airport on 20 December 2013.

    It appears that, during the descent the pilot saw an airport and prematurely abandoned the given arrival procedure (EVATO 1A) which would have taken him to position TESOV, and subsequently to the Kilimanjaro runway axis.
    He subsequently joined left downwind for runway 27 Arusha Airport while believing that he was proceeding to land at Kilimanjaro. His downwind position report was not challenged by the Kilimanjaro controller, who should have had him in sight in that position.

    Weather about the time of the accident (10:15 UTC / 13:15 LT):
    HTAR 181000Z 33015KT 9999 FEW026CB BKN026 26/15 Q1017
    HTAR 181100Z 33010KT 9999 FEW026 FEW027CB 26/15 Q1016


    cwoodward
    Participant


    SimonS1
    Participant

    From available reports there was no problem with the takeoff as the aircraft was empty and the runway was of adequate length – no steam needed on this occasion!

    You can see the steam at 0:28 in the video.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    Its dust mud and grass Simon as there had been heavy rains in the area.
    The gear, engines and systems were all checked the day before and 3 ground runs were completed before it took off again – only 850mts of the 1640mts of available runway was used to get the empty plane with minimum fuel airborne. There are several videos around that clearly show this.
    Had a fuel additive been used it would almost certainly have been Nitro-methane (no steam). It was reported at the time that it may have been as the colour of the exhaust gasses were said by some to indicate this.
    I had a business interest in the incident and still had some information on an old hard drive.

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