TAL explains landing helicopter on Benin-Ore highway
The helicopter services company, contrary to speculations, said it got approval from the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) for the operations, and did not violate any extant security or safety rules.
The AW139 rotary-wing aircraft, number 5N–BVQ, owned and operated by TAL, recently landed in a traffic gridlock on Benin-Ore Expressway to pick a passenger. Eye-witness reports suggest that a popular billionaire and a lady were the target of the chopper service.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) this week launched investigation into the circumstance that led to the exercise and compliance to regulatory rules governing such procedure.
Chief Operating Officer (COO) of TAL, Femi Adeniji, yesterday told reporters in Lagos that the company was surprised at the “undue outrage” following social media footage, when TAL was only carrying out an operation that is already gaining global traction.
Adeniji clarified that the helicopter was never involved in any scheduled flight diversion, having filed a flight plan for the exercise.
“We wish to state that our mission for that flight was to save lives. We immediately swung into action and rushed to the site in record time to pick the individual, who is currently recuperating in the hospital.
“We are a licensed logistics company to carry out medical evacuation operations and was engaged to air lift an individual who suffered a serious health challenge while caught in traffic and needed emergency evacuation on the day in question,” he said.
The COO added that the road evacuation was conducted in close collaboration with security agencies – the Nigerian Army and Police – who created space in the gridlock caused by the ongoing road construction.
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