On Sunday, a United Nigeria Airlines flight took off from Lagos heading to the Nigerian capital, Abuja. The domestic route covers around 320 miles.
In a strange twist, passengers on board were told they had landed in Abuja, their intended city.
Initially the airline apologised, stating that the plane was diverted “due to poor destination weather” and that “at all material time, the pilot of the aircraft was aware of the temporary diversion and was properly briefed”, reports Simple Flying.
Nigeria my country. We departed Lagos about an hour ago on @flyunitedng to Abuja, and upon arrival, the cabin crew confidently announced that we've arrived Abuja, only for us to realize that we landed in Asaba. Apparently, our pilot was given wrong flight plan from Lagos 🤣🙆♂️ pic.twitter.com/Qv4zepDiVF
— Peacock (@dawisu) November 26, 2023
“However, a wrong announcement was made by the cabin crew upon landing safely in Asaba, creating confusion among passengers.”
Since then, doubt has been cast on this explanation, with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) looking into the incident.
Festus Keyamo, Nigeria’s minister of aviation, said that “it was clear that when the pilot was taking off from Lagos, he was headed to Asaba, not Abuja,” reports One Mile at a Time.
So a flight originally billed for Abuja accidentally lands in Asaba
And a flight crew member even announced ‘welcome to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja'
Inside Asaba oo
Nigeria is a comedy scene! 😂
— Pearls (@MissPearls) November 26, 2023
Authorities have since revealed that they’ve listened to the communication between the pilots and air traffic controllers. The cockpit is repeatedly asked to confirm that they are flying to Abuja and not Asaba – but the pilots insisted that the flight was headed to Asaba.
Salihu Tanko Yakasai, who was on the plane and ran for the governorship of Nigeria’s Kano state in elections earlier this year, told BBC Igbo that the “sky was clear”, and the pilot announced that he had received the “wrong flight plan” from Lagos.
Some passengers were “agitated” as they could see they were not in Abuja, he added.
The Independent has contacted the NCAA and United Nigeria Airlines for more information.