Minister Orders Investigation Into Use Of Ladder By Aero At Bauchi Airport
… As Airline Reviews Safety Measures For Charter Operations At Airports
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has ordered an immediate investigation into the use of unauthorised equipment by Aero Contractors Airlines at the conclusion of a charter flight to Bauchi at the weekend.
The order was made known in an online statement signed by Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs, James Odaudu and made available to journalists.
According to the statement, several reports received by the Minister have indicated the airline used a ladder to disembark passengers from a Boeing 737 aircraft at the Bauchi airport on Saturday, December 19, 2015.
According to the Minister, the act is inconsistent with Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS).
The investigation, the minister stated would determine the immediate and remote causes of the incident with a view to developing and implementing measures that would prevent a reoccurrence of the unsafe and unacceptable procedure that exposed passengers to high risk of serious injury.
He reiterated that if the airline was found culpable, the full weight of sanctions within extant laws and regulations would be applied on it.
Sirika assured the traveling public that the Ministry of Transportation in collaboration with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) would ensure strict adherence to the NCARs as well as ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices(SARPs) by all operators.
The Minister further stated that the ministry would not shriek in its responsibility to ensure a safe and secure air transport services which he views as sacrosanct.
But Aero in a swift reaction explained that its special charter flight operated by airline to Bauchi had problems with unserviceable equipment by the airport management in disembarking about 34 passengers from Abuja.
The airline also in an online statement made available to aviation correspondents stated that consequently against the airline’s wish and operation safety guideline, the passengers used a ladder to disembark.
However, the airline further explained that as 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. 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. “the airline said
It continued, “Aero Contractors wishes to state that it is reviewing its safety measures with all charter operations to all airports to prevent such reoccurrence. Aero will continue to take adequate measures to ensure that its operations remain safe and secure.”