Max Air blames Minna incident on landing instrument, NAHCON cautions against misinformation
A local airline, Max Air, has blamed last Saturday’s near mishap on alleged malfunctioning of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Minna International Airport in Niger State.
Its Director of Operations, Captain Ibrahim Dilli, yesterday said with the rainfall at the time of aircraft’s arrival, the airport’s ILS was epileptic with unreliable signals on approach.
An ILS enables pilots to conduct an instrument approach to landing if they are unable to establish visual contact with the runway. The instrument-based signals must, however, be accurate to avert mishap.
The carrier’s Boeing 747-400 aircraft, with 560 passengers and 19 crew onboard, had an incident on hitting the runway. The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has begun an investigation to unravel the cause of the incident.
But in its reaction, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) yesterday said reports that a Max Airline plane conveying about 600 pilgrims from Saudi Arabia crashed landed in Minna were been exaggerated.
It, therefore, advised members of the public to be wary of misinformation on the incident, saying relevant agencies were already investigating the report to ascertain the true situation.
Head of Public Affairs at NAHCON, Fatima Usara, however, noted that the plane landed in Minna safely and all pilgrims arrived their destinations.
Dilli told The Guardian that the wide-body plane marked 5N-DBK, took off from the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with hajj pilgrims on board and that at the time of arrival in Minna airport, there was heavy rain with unstable wind.
“The ILS at the airport was epileptic with unreliable signals and the pilot evacuated on approach, using experience and knowledge of the terrain to safe landing and stop on the runway, during which one of the engines slightly brushed the runway due to complex landing manoeuvers occasioned by strong downdraft.
“The aircraft did not crash nor skid off the runway,” he said, adding that the aircraft was subsequently taxied to the airport terminal and passengers disembarked without any problem.
The AIB, said, ‘the serious incident’ had been reported and investigators had been deployed to the site.
Its Spokesman, Tunji Oketunbi, said from avalaible information, the aircraft on landing, scraped the runway, while one of the engines brushed the runway surface, but no injury was recorded.