A passenger plane of the Sriwijaya Air flight landed at the wrong airport after pilots mistreated on-board navigation equipment and made a visual approach to land. Flight was scheduled to travel from Medan to Padang, both in Indonesia. But, instead of arriving at the new airport, the aircraft touched down in a military-only airfield that hasn’t been used by commercial flights since 2005.
The incident happened on October 13, 2012, but the National Transportation Safety Committee of the country only released its final report on Monday.
The pilots were following a landing chart which showed the flight path for landing. On the day of the flight, the pilots only had a black and white copy, which didn’t clearly indicate there was another airport en route.
NTSC’s report disclosed that, despite the fact that the on-board navigation equipment was functioning, the pilots decided to make the visual approach to Tabing Airport airport as they thought the instruments might have been wrong, based on previous experience.
The report said that the unclear information given by the landing chart may also have reduced ‘the pilot awareness to the adjacent airport with similar runway direction and dimension’.
It had been the first time both the captain and the pilot have flown to the airport, which may have also contributed to the error.