British Airways Pilots thought Edinburg was in Germany and landed in the wrong city

Passengers at London City Airport today boarded British Airways flight BA3281 assuming they would fly to Duesseldorf, Germany but were surprised when landing they saw a sign: Welcome to Edinburg after landing at Edinburgh,  United Kingdom. Edinburg was the busiest airport in Scotland in 2018, handling over 14.3 million passengers and an unexpected landing did not raise any eyebrows.

The plane used is a Saab 2000 twin-engined high-speed turboprop airliner. It is designed to carry 50–58 passengers and cruise at a speed of 665 km/h. Production took place in Linköping in southern Sweden. The Saab 2000 first flew in March 1992 and was certified in 1994

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Welcome to Edinburgh was the message after landing, when in fact every passenger expected to get off in the German city by the Rhine river instead. The flight was operated by WDL Aviation. WDL Aviation GmbH & Co. KG is a German charter airline headquartered at Cologne Bonn Airport and flies also for British Airways.

British Airways is currently working with WDL to find out why it filed the wrong flight plan and flew to Edinburg without realizing.

“We have apologized to customers for this interruption to their journey and will be contacting them all individually,” BA said in a statement.

On its final flight on Sunday, the plane flew to Edinburgh and back so it seems that someone at WDL mistakenly repeated the same flight plan for the next day, according to BA.

When the crew arrived at London City airport on Monday it is thought that they saw Edinburgh on the flight plan from the day before and followed the old flight route.

The BA statement said: “At no time has the safety of passengers been compromised. We flew the passengers on the flight with number BA3271 to Düsseldorf after the involuntary stopover in Edinburgh,”

BA declined to say how many passengers were affected by the mistake.

The plane sat on the tarmac at Edinburgh for two-and-a-half hours, before flying onto Düsseldorf.

The toilets were blocked and they ran out of snacks.

For the passengers involved, will they get compensation for the delay? And ultimately – what does this do for trust in British Airways that such a mistake can be made?