In serious incident, pilots land Boeing 737 at airport under construction

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Airport workers in the works and the 737 taxiing

A serious incident was reported on Sunday, April 4, when pilots of a Boeing 737 landed the aircraft at an airport different from the one planned, and even worse, one that is still under construction.

Fortunately the runway was already in a position to receive the landing and everything ended up well, however, a failure like this is quite serious, as the landing at the wrong airport can result in a collision with another aircraft or a runway exit, if this is shorter than the distance that was expected at the correct landing location.

The occurrence was revealed from the video below, posted on Facebook, in which it is possible to see Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 taxiing to take off while several construction team employees are in the yard.

According to the publication’s author, the jet landed at the new Copperbelt International Airport instead of the current Ndola International Airport, both in Zambia, Africa. See the video:

The following satellite image shows where the new airport where the 737 landed is located, circled in red on the left, and the one currently in use, highlighted with the marker.

Image: Google Maps / FlightRadar24

Radar tracking data shows that the Boeing 737 involved was the ET-AYL registration plate, which served flight number ET3891, departing from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Ndola. As noted in the video images, it is a jet converted to a freighter.

After the incident, the jet left just over two hours after Ndola to another destination, however, tracking platforms such as FlightRadar24 and RadarBox do not have good radar coverage in the region, so it is not possible to see the flight from repositioning to the correct airport.

In addition to this landing, in the comments of the video publication, another person comments that he witnessed yet another Boeing 737 from Ethiopian, with ET-AQP registration on flight number ET871, also making his approach to the airport under construction on the same day, however, the pilots they realized the error and launched at moments of landing, about 50 feet (15 meters) high.

Also according to this person, the airport runway under construction has large letters X drawn on the headlands to indicate that the runway is out of use, revealing that, in addition to the wrong approach, ET-AYL pilots were also not paying attention to noting the marking .

Here are some more recent cases in a similar situation:

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