A passenger jet flying
for Ryanair mistakenly landed at Ballykelly Army airstrip
Wednesday, instead of at its intended destination of City of Derry
Airport, six miles away.
The Liverpool-to-Londonderry flight, operated by Eirjet on
behalf of the Irish LCC, landed at the wrong airport due to an
"error by the Eirjet pilot who mistakenly believed he was on a
visual approach to City of Derry airport," according to a Ryanair
Army officers and passengers aboard the Eirjet A320 alike were,
frankly, dumbfounded by the mistake.
"The pilot apologized and said, 'We may have arrived at the
wrong airport,'" said one passenger. "Everyone started laughing and
thought it was a joke, then I saw for myself when I looked out and
saw Army officers everywhere."
"It was just unbelievable, I think the Army officers were
shocked themselves (as) they were taking photographs," the
passenger added. "It was surreal."
Another passenger told the BBC passengers had to wait on the
airplane as deboarding stairs were brought from the airport --
although he had been looking forward to another option.
"Unfortunately they didn't let us go down the slide," he said.
(about 33 participants in this weekend's A380 evacuation drill may
wish to educate the lad about the perils of those
In its statement, Ryanair said it has notified aviation
authorities in the UK and Ireland of the incident. The passengers
were eventually shuttled back to the proper airport, while their
aircraft remained on the ground at Ballykelly.
"We have also asked
Eirjet, the operator of the aircraft to carry out a full
investigation into this matter, as in over seven years of Ryanair
flights into City of Derry airport, and over 20 years of
Ryanair-operated flights, such a mistake has never occurred
before," the airline (pointedly?) added.
In a statement of its own, Eirjet promised it would also carry
out a full investigation.
"Eirjet wish to stress that passenger safety was not compromised
and the incident involved the aircraft landing at a runway which is
exactly in line with the main runway at City of Derry Airport," it