Pilots of a passenger airline flight from Querétaro to Monterrey last night landed without incident, only to find they were at the wrong airport.
Aeroméxico Connect flight 2268 took off from Querétaro a few minutes after 8:00pm and an hour later the flight crew identified an airport below. After contacting air traffic control staff at the Monterrey International Airport they obtained permission and instructions to land.
Upon landing the flight crew reported having done so, but the Monterrey airport still had no visual contact with the aircraft.
Meanwhile, staff at the private Aeropuerto del Norte in the nearby municipality of Apodaca were surprised to see a plane land without having made contact. What they saw was Aeroméxico flight 2268 landing at the wrong airport.
Witnesses reported that the plane remained for about 10 minutes before taking off but during that period some passengers turned to Twitter to express their concern over the error.
Aeroméxico replied to some of the tweets and apologized but refrained from providing any more information.
Experts contacted by Reforma said the runway at the private airstrip is too short for an aircraft of the size of the 50-passenger Embraer 145 which was used on the flight. The error could have represented a serious risk for all aboard the plane, they said.
The airline hasn’t issued an official statement regarding the incident, but has announced that the two pilots —whose names haven’t been disclosed — would be dismissed today.
The General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) said last night that the event was unique in the history of aviation in Mexico, and was the result of an error by the crew.
The agency has temporarily suspended the flight licenses of both pilots pending further investigations.