Ethiopian B738 at Ndola on Apr 4th 2021, landed at airport under construction

Last Update: April 6, 2021 / 17:10:35 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Apr 4, 2021

Classification
Incident

Destination
Ndola, Zambia

Aircraft Registration
ET-AYL

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-800

ICAO Type Designator
B738

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 freighter, registration ET-AYL performing freight flight ET-3891 from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to Ndola (Zambia), was expected to land at Ndola's current (and old) Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (Coordinates: S12.9977 E28.6634) but landed on Ndola's new Copperbelt International Airport (Coordinates: S12.9624 E28.5141), that is located about 9nm westnorthwest of the current airport and is still under construction. The aircraft taxied to the apron, where airport construction workers signalled to the crew they were not expected at that airport. The crew thus continued taxi across the apron, entered the runway via the next taxiway and departed again.

A local construction worker at the new airport took a video of the aircraft as it taxied across the apron with several construction workers gesticulating to tell the crew, they were at the wrong airport, instead of turning into the park position the crew continued straight ahead towards the next taxiway to the runway, entered and backtracked the runway and departed again.

Local workers at the new airport reported, that it was not the only Ethiopian Boeing 737-800 that day that attempted to land at the wrong airport about 2.5 hours after ET-AYL, see Incident: Ethiopian B738 at Ndola on Apr 4th 2021, approached airport under construction and went around from 50 feet AGL.

On Apr 6th 2021 Zambia's Transport Ministry confirmed the aircraft landed inadvertently at the future Copperbelt Airport instead of the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport located 15km away and currently serving the area. At the time of landing the crew was in contact with ATC at Kapwepwe Airport, who reported they couldn't see the aircraft. The crew obviously landed visually. The aircraft did not sustain any damage. A full investigation resulting in a report is going to be conducted. The aircraft was able to take off again and landed at its intended destination.

On Apr 6th 2021 Ethiopian Airlines stated: "Ethiopian Airlines would like to acknowledge that its dedicated Freighter Flight number ET 3891/4 April B-737-800F on a cargo service from Addis Ababa to Ndola, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport , Zambia landed at the new airport, Copperbelt International Airport which is yet to be inaugurated. The cargo flight made safe landing in the new airport. Although details of the incident are under investigation in coordination with the Zambian Aeronautical Authorities, the fact that there was no NOTAM issued regarding the construction of the new airport which has the same runway heading orientation with the existing one and the close proximity between the two airports may have contributed to the incident."

No weather data are available for Ndola, the video however suggests the weather was clear, visibility unrestricted, with few clouds at estimated 2000 feet.

The Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport features two parallel runways, runway 10L/28R is 2515 meters/8250 feet long, runway 10R/28L 1215 meters/3980 feet long.

The Copperbelt International Airport is going to feature a runway of 3500 meters length orientation about 09/27. The airport was originally scheduled to be opened mid 2020, due to the Pandemic it's opening was delayed however.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Apr 4, 2021

Classification
Incident

Destination
Ndola, Zambia

Aircraft Registration
ET-AYL

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-800

ICAO Type Designator
B738

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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