Nigeria probes commercial flight landing in wrong destination

Tuesday November 28 2023

A United Nigeria Airline commercial plane wrongly landed in Asaba, Nigeria instead of Abuja its destination. PHOTO | NCAA.


Nigerian authorities have launched a probe in an incident where a domestic flight landed in an unscheduled destination.

The incident caused an uproar among aviation stakeholders over air transport security, after the United Nigeria Airline flight NUA 0506 with more than 232 passengers from Lagos enroute to Abuja landed in Asaba, capital of Delta State, to the consternation of the passengers, flight crew and foreign pilots. 

As the confusion raged, the airline is accused of not giving a factual explanation why the plane was diverted to Asaba which is far away from Abuja, instead of Kaduna which normally receive distress planes when there is poor weather in Abuja. 

Aviation and Aerospace Minister Festus Keyamo said on Tuesday that he had directed the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) to release result of the investigation on the incident within 10 days. 

Read: Nigeria’s Dana Airline plane overshoots runway

Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, Keyamo confirmed that flight operating from Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos en route to Abuja on Sunday landed in Asaba International Airport in Delta state. 


He ordered NSIB to give an investigative report within ten days and gave assurance that the ministry was taking every step to ensure the safety of lives of Nigerians who travel by air. 

According to him, a transcript from the tower of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) indicated that the pilot took off from Lagos headed to Asaba instead of not Abuja. 

“There was no weather problem, NiMet’s DG is here. It was a question of wet lease plane. Pilots and the cabin crew were foreigners,” he stated.

“They were not familiar with the Nigerian terrain. So, it was purely an issue of in-house administrative issues. We have agreed from now that any wet lease coming into Nigeria must have a local pilot and Nigerians as its cabin crew,” he said. 

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Director General Capt Musa Nuhu said the authority also commenced investigation into the incident. 

Read: Nigeria plane makes emergency landing in Ghana

Meanwhile, Achilleus- Chud Uchegbu, head of Corporate Communications at United Nigeria Airlines, in a statement said the flight which took-off in Lagos en route Abuja on Sunday was temporarily diverted to the Asaba International Airport due to poor weather. 

A passenger who was in the plane argued that the plane might have had a wrong flight plan and was actually not diverted to Asaba due to bad weather. 

Sharing pictures of infuriated passengers, a Nigerian man mocked the airline for landing them in another state as the flight took off for a second time.