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Sriwijaya pilots grounded after landing at wrong airport

Indonesian investigators have opened an inquiry after pilots from local carrier Sriwijaya Air landed at the wrong destination.

Both the captain and the first officer of the aircraft have been grounded in the wake of the incident which is being investigated by the country's National Transportation Safety Committee.

There were around 96 passengers on board the aircraft, says the Indonesian transport ministry, and none was injured.

Sriwijaya Air, which has a fleet of Boeing 737s, had been operating the service to Minangkabau airport in western Sumatra.

But the ministry says the aircraft touched down instead at Padang's Tabing airport - long closed to commercial flights and used only by the air force.

While the two airports are located some 14km apart, they share a close resemblance. Both have a single runway located parallel to, and only a few hundred metres from, the coastline and the runways have a similar orientation - Minangkabau's is designated 15/33 and Tabing's 16/34.

The ministry says the cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders have been secured following the 13 October incident, and will be used to understand the "error".

It states that the event occurred at about 17:00, suggesting the approach took place in daylight, while meteorological data points to good visibility and weather conditions at the time.

Sriwijaya Air had been operating the service from Medan, in the north of Sumatra, as flight SJ21.

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