Join Simon Calder’s complimentary travel newsletter for professional guidance and savings opportunities.
Receive Simon Calder’s email newsletter about travel.
An investigation is being conducted on an airline for a plane that landed nearly 200 miles off course, causing flight disruptions and leaving passengers stranded.
Last Sunday, a flight operated by United Nigeria Airlines departed from Lagos and headed towards Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. This domestic journey spans approximately 320 miles.
However, the plane landed at Asaba International Airport. This is similar to landing in Tenby, Wales instead of London, as originally planned.
Unexpectedly, the passengers were informed that they had reached their intended destination of Abuja.
Simple Flying reported that the airline originally expressed regret and explained that the plane was redirected because of unfavorable weather conditions at the intended destination. They also stated that the pilot was aware of and properly informed about the temporary diversion.
“Unfortunately, the cabin crew made an incorrect announcement upon safely landing in Asaba, causing confusion among the passengers.”
Subsequently, the validity of this explanation has been questioned as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) investigates the incident.
According to One Mile at a Time, Festus Keyamo, the aviation minister of Nigeria, stated that it was evident that the pilot intended to fly from Lagos to Asaba, not Abuja.
Officials have recently disclosed that they have monitored the conversation between the pilots and air traffic controllers. The cockpit was repeatedly prompted to verify their destination as Abuja instead of Asaba, but the pilots maintained that they were heading to Asaba.
Salihu Tanko Yakasai, who was a candidate for the governorship of Nigeria’s Kano state in this year’s elections, stated to BBC Igbo that the weather conditions were good and that the pilot had mistakenly been given the wrong flight plan from Lagos.
According to him, certain travelers were “disturbed” upon realizing that they were not in Abuja.
The Independent has reached out to both the NCAA and United Nigeria Airlines for additional details.