Airline blames airport facility as govt probes use of ladder at Bauchi
AERO Contractors Airlines yesterday explained why it used ladder instead of a gangway to disembark passengers from its aircraft at the Bauchi Airport, even as the Federal Government is expecting reports of its probe panel.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had weekend directed an immediate investigation into the use of unauthorized equipment by the airline at the conclusion of a charter flight to Bauchi over the weekend.
The airline said in the statement by its media consultant in Lagos, Mr. Simon Tumba, that the aircraft in question had operated a charter flight to Bauchi, but had problems with unserviceable equipment by the airport management in disembarking about 34 passengers from Abuja.
He maintained that the absence of this equipment forced the airline to use a ladder against its wish to disembark the passengers.
Tumba in the statement said that at the time of boarding, the air stairs became functional and the passengers boarded successfully.
“Aero wishes to state that it took adequate and safety measures for this operation, including the airport’s ground staff crew to handle the air stairs equipment in Bauchi, unfortunately it became unserviceable at the point of disembarkation,” the statement said.
“Although the airline crew tried to calm down the passengers to wait while the equipment was being fixed, the passengers insisted on their own volition to disembark against all safety protocol of the airline.
According to the statement, the airline said “Aero Contractors wishes to state that it is reviewing its safety measures with all charter operations to all airports to prevent such re-occurrence. Aero will continue to take adequate measures to ensure that its operations remain safe and secure.”
Continuing, the Minister said the act is inconsistent with Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS).
According to a press release signed by the Director of Press in the ministry, James Dawodu, the investigation will determine the immediate and remote causes of the incident with a view to developing and implementing measures that will prevent a reoccurrence of the unsafe and unacceptable procedure that expose passengers to high risk of serious injury.
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