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UA lands with smoke in cockpit; BA lands in wrong country

March 27, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A United Airlines 787-9 Dreamliner flying from Melbourne to Los Angeles has made an emergency landing in New Caledonia after smoke started filling the cockpit – and in a very peculiar incident indeed, British Airways has managed to land in the wrong country by mistake.

United’s flight UA 99 from Melbourne to Los Angeles International Airport on Monday, with 256 people aboard, was flying at cruising altitude of 35,000 feet when crew reported smoke in the cockpit, the Aviation Herald reported.

The aircraft was at that point about 190 nautical miles (352 km) northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia. The crew diverted to Noumea, dumping fuel on the way and the plane landed safely on Noumea’s runway 11 about 35 minutes later.

The aircraft and passengers had to spend the night in Noumea. United flew a replacement aircraft there to pick up the passengers and take them on to LAX, while the aircraft with the problem flew on to the US empty, except for flight crew.

Daily Mail online quoted an official at La Tontouta airport in Noumea saying the passengers disembarked calmly. The Nouvelles-Caledoniennes (Caledonian News) website reported oxygen masks in the cabin automatically dropped.


United Airlines 787 Dreamliner

The same flight, United UA 99, featured in the news in January when a 24-year-old Australian model drunkenly assaulted a flight attendant, was convicted of a serious federal offence in the US over it and now faces the prospect of spending the next 21 years in a US prison. See: Senior US judge will sentence Aussie woman for flight assault

MEANWHILE, in a separate incident, British Airways actually managed to land one of its planes in the wrong country, to the shock of passengers.

A morning BA flight from London City to Dusseldorf, Germany, landed in Scotland “by mistake”, with the pilot realising his error only after touching down at Edinburgh Airport.

Passengers were stunned when they were greeted with a ‘Welcome to Edinburgh’ message as the British Airways flight landed in the Scottish capital, The Scotsman newspaper reported.


The error is being blamed on a mix-up with flight paperwork. The pilot of flight BA3271 is said to have believed all along that he was supposed to be flying to Edinburgh, whereas the passengers were under the impression they were flying to Dusseldorf, which was where they all wanted to go.

Initially, passengers thought rumours of a landing in Edinburgh was some kind of bizarre British joke.

Passengers realised they were actually in Edinburgh when the captain entered the cabin and asked people to put up their hands if they were expecting to go to Dusseldorf.

Monty Python coud hardly do it justice! There’s bound to be a Brexit angle.

The passengers later continued to Dusseldorf, some still scratching their heads in wonder.

Written by Peter Needham

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