United Nigeria Airline flies passengers to the wrong destination, 400 km away

Dawisu / Twitter / oussama obeid / Shutterstock.com

An airline in Nigeria ended up flying more than 100 passengers to the wrong city, more than 400 kilometers away, to Asaba International Airport (ABB) instead of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV) in Abuja.

The United Nigeria Airlines flight (UN504) departed on November 26, 2023 from Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS) in Lagos to its intended destination, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Airbus A320 flew its passengers smoothly, and when it landed more than an hour later, passengers did not think anything was out of the ordinary, because flight attendants made a welcome announcement that they were in Abuja, the correct destination.

“Welcome to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja,” the cabin crew announced, but the plane had actually landed in Asaba, a town on the western bank of Niger River some 450 kilometers from Abuja.

The passengers only realized they were at the wrong destination after exiting the aircraft and finding that they were in the wrong city.

One of the passengers took to X (formerly Twitter) to say: “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 the wrong flight plan from Lagos.”

“Diversion due to poor weather”

In a statement, United Nigeria Airlines maintained that the mistake was a “temporary diversion”, blaming “poor weather” in Abuja for the incident.

“A United Nigeria Airlines flight, UN 504, operating from the MM2 in Lagos enroute Abuja on Sunday, November 26, 2023, was temporarily diverted to Asaba International Airport due to poor destination weather,” the airline said in a statement published by Aviation24.

“At all material time, the pilot of the aircraft was aware of the temporary diversion and was properly briefed. However, a wrong announcement was made by cabin crew upon landing safely in Asaba, creating confusion among passengers,” the airline added. 

Image : Aviation24

Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority to investigate

Although the flight eventually made it safely to Abuja, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said it was not satisfied with the “bad weather” explanation and announced that it has launched an investigation into the incident, claiming it will leave “no stone unturned”.

“The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have commenced investigation into the circumstances surrounding United Nigeria flight NUA 0506 to Asaba and the confusion it has created in the public domain. However, preliminary steps have been taken pending conclusions of the ongoing investigation. The Authority wishes to reassure the traveling public that it will leave no stone unturned as it has always done in the past to ensure continued safety of the aviation industry,” the NCAA said.

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