Again, Air Maroc alleges invasion of aircraft at Lagos airport
FAAN refutes claim
Royal Air Maroc has again reported an invasion of its aircraft on the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) runway in Lagos, the second within two weeks.
The Guardian learnt that the latest incident happened at the weekend as the Boeing 737-700 aircraft, marked CN-RNQ, was preparing for take off about 5:30am.
Having seen the cargo compartment light came on, suggesting an opening, the pilot reported the matter to the air traffic controllers, and immediately aborted the flight for a return to the apron. The incident caused the airline about five hours delay.
However, The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) yesterday confirmed the incident, but denied invasion of the aircraft since there were no evidences that the cargo compartment was opened.
The airline, which is Morocco’s national carrier, had on October 11, 2019, reported that its operating aircraft marked CN-ROR landed in Lagos at 4 am with its baggage cabin door opened, while taxing by suspicious invaders.
FAAN had confirmed that although the cabin was found open, no intruder was found or any luggage lost, even as the aviation security escort visually observed that the cargo door was closed at the time the pilot alleged it was open.
General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, said the Aviation Security (AVSEC) escort team remained with the aircraft, as it taxied back to the apron on the pilot’s request.
“At the apron, all concerned officers of FAAN and other agencies were on ground for thorough inspection. In line with standard and recommended practices, all parties concerned supervised the offloading and re-screening of the entire luggage of passengers on board the aircraft.
“All the luggage were found intact as certified by the team on ground before the flight eventually took-off at 10.06 hours in the presence of the Airport Manager and Chief Security Officer of the Airport,” Yakubu said.
Although the Lagos Airport remains the busiest in the country, it is not unusual to experience claims and actual attempted invasion. The most recent was in July this year, by a man identified as Usman Adamu from Niger Republic, who encroached into the operations of an Azman Airline’s plane at the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminal II (MMA2), while waiting for take off clearance from the control tower.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), in the wake of the incident, advised FAAN to deploy more security patrol vehicles to airports across the country to forestall such security breaches.
Meanwhile, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has appointed Charles Erhueh, a safety investigator with Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria, as the new Commissioner of the Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA).
Erhueh was picked after a thorough recruitment process in which various applicants from within and outside the member states applied for the advertised position.
Responding to the development, Chief Executive Officer of AIB Nigeria, Akin Olateru, said they were pleased to release Erhueh, “one of our well-trained safety investigators” to serve at BAGAIA.
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