The airport in the city’s Fuhlsbüttel district must not to be confused with nearby Hamburg Finkenwerder.
Cleared for landing at Hamburg, a pilot flying with an unnamed Spanish airline began his descent towards the wrong airport before correcting his mistake.
Hamburg Airport in the city’s Fuhlsbüttel district is Germany’s second-largest airport, not to be confused with the nearby private Hamburg Finkenwerder, where an Airbus factory site is located.
The two airports are 15 kilometres apart – something the Spanish pilot is now very much aware of, the German newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt and The Local both report.
Unfortunately for him, at the time he was due to land last Friday, construction on Runway 5 meant that the “instrument landing system” was temporarily down and arriving aircraft had to fly by sight.
When it became clear the aircraft was mistakenly heading for the Airbus company airfield at Finkenwerder, the pilot was abruptly warned by air traffic control, Germany’s air traffic authority said. The plane eventually landed safely in Fuhlsbüttel.
“With the help of his other instruments, the pilot really should have noticed that he was too far from his destination”, an air traffic authority spokeswoman told Hamburg Finkenwerder.
The pilots’ flight handbook specifically warns that there are multiple airports in the city and not to mix them up.