Ryanair flight lands at wrong airport

Well it’s been all over the news here in Ireland but in case you haven’t heard, a Ryanair flight, due to land in Derry airport yesterday, accidentally landed six miles away in a nearby military base instead !

Aparently the pilot thought he was landing at the airport in Derry until he noticed all the soldiers running around the plane…
From The BBC:
One of the passengers said everyone was completely surprised when they realised what had happened.
He said: “The pilot apologised and said, ‘We may have arrived at the wrong airport’.
“Everyone started laughing and thought it was a joke, then I saw for myself when I looked out and saw Army officers everywhere.
The plane had been destined for City of Derry Airport
“It was just unbelievable, I think the Army officers were shocked themselves (as) they were taking photographs. It was surreal.”
Another passenger said they had to wait on the plane while stairs were brought from the airport.
“Unfortunately they didn’t let us go down the slide,” he added.

The Irish Times further ellaborates on the daft situation:
One of the passengers, Johnny Borrow, said he knew the flight was landing at the wrong airport.
“I tried to tell the crew that we were landing in the wrong place, but it was too late to do anything because the descent was almost over. It was hilarious. Soldiers starting running towards the aircraft waving at us and laughing.”
Brian Mather, a passenger, said the soldiers treated the passengers well.
“They could see the funny side of it. As we approached to land, the plane banked a couple of times and landed normally, except that we were at the wrong airport. Some of the soldiers came on board and laughingly welcomed us to their international airport. There was no panic among the passengers, but I think the cockpit crew might be panicking a bit,” Mr Mather said.

A spokesman for the British Ministry of Defence said yesterday that it was “probably the first time since the Second World War that a fixed wing plane of that size has touched down in Ballykelly”. Aparently the plane was still stuck there today…
Perhaps this incident explains how all of Ryanair’s flights to Brussels end up landing 10 miles away in Charleroi !
http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/front/2006/0330/84433106HM1RYANAIRDERRY.html (subscription required)



  1. As a fellow pilot, I can understand the situation – one long bit of black tar looks the same as another.
    I think for safety’s sake, and to help cockpit tension, all runways within 100 miles of each other should be different colors. That way you could go from ‘red’ to ‘green’, land, let all the boys and girls off, and go back to ‘red’. Alternately, if qualified, you could go on to ‘yellow’. If by force of habit, you suddenly saw red, you could go around, check your Michelin, and head off for ‘yellow’. By the time you’ve dashed round the cabin with a 40 ouncer, non of the punters Will be any the wiser. Before landing at ‘yellow’ tell them that the local time is different, and to re-set their watches to compensate for the bolls up of going via ‘red’, but at least they wont know. Best piss off back to red ASAP before they realize that they are in the same time zone.

  2. Hughie, does this mean there’s a good chance that you’re gonna land us on the deck of a trawler some day?

  3. Ah now, you see I drive a helicopter, and not an airplane. We have the advantage that we don’t have to think as fast as plane pilots, and if we do see an error on the horizon, we can stop – have a wee think, and then continue. Now you can’t do that in a plane – well not true exactly. You can stop, but staying in the same place, and then getting going again, can present itself as a wee bit of a challenge. For boats – are you daft man, who the hell would want to land on a boat anyway ? The whole idea of flying in the first place is to save driving, and you can’t drive to boats, can you ? Sometimes you wonder about folk.

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