Air Peace has responded to the investigative report released by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) on Tuesday, which accused the airline of committing several safety infractions due to its persistent failure to report serious accidents and incidents involving its aircraft in the Nigerian airspace.
The airline reportedly described the AIB’s accusation as a “witch hunt”, which was not issued in good faith. Also, the airline stressed that the statement which emanated from the investigation Bureau was a misrepresentation of facts concerning the several incidents cited.
The details: While reacting to one of several allegations levied against it by the investigation bureau, Air Peace admitted that in the night of May 15, 2019, an Air Peace Boeing 737-300 with registration number 5N – BUK made a hard-landing in Lagos on account of sudden change in weather at the point of touch down.
However, Air Peace accused the investigation bureau of misrepresenting facts, when it stated that the airline only reported the incident three weeks after the incident occurred, when the Bureau’s team visited its corporate headquarters in Lagos on June 6, 2019. Air Peace explained;
“Contrary to the press statement issued by the AIB, Air Peace duly notified the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) of the incident on May 16, 2019, before it followed up with a written communication and subsequently filed an MOR on May 17, 2019, with reference number APL/QM/279/19. The said MOR filed by the airline was received and signed for by the NCAA on the same date. The airline complied with the statutory time-lime for the filing of MOR.
“The airline also expressed surprise at AIB’s dredging up of the incident, which occurred on December 14, 2018, en route Enugu Airport, during which oxygen masks were automatically deployed as a result of a change in cabin pressure. The airline said matters related masks dropping during flight is not peculiar to Air Peace, but common to airlines the world over.
An aberration? In a similar development, Air Peace described the report from the AIB as an aberration, stating that it is only targetted at creating unnecessary fears in the minds of the flying public against its airline.
“It is still in shock over the deliberate misrepresentation of facts by the AIB, and questioned the motive behind the press statement. The airline queried: Was the press statement intended to scare the flying public against an airline that has consistently demonstrated zero tolerance for unsafe practices?
“Air Peace questions if it is not an aberration for an Accident Investigation Bureau to do acts capable of not only misleading the flying public but also deliberately creating unnecessary fear in their minds.”
A witch-hunt? While concluding its response to the allegations, Air Peace described the report as a witch hunt and thereby challenge the bureau to make details of other erring airlines in Nigeria.
“Air Peace said it, makes bold to state that the mention of ‘other airlines’, without naming them is a mere smokescreen. The target is Air Peace.”
Bottom line: Whether this is a witch hunt or not, the safety of the “flying public” is paramount. Air Peace may need to look inward to address several issues that have led to near-accident occurrences.
An industry source recently disclosed to Nairametrics of near-accident cases involving Air Peace aircrafts “over-shooting” its runway twice in three days in Kaduna and Banjul airport in the Gambia.
While the “flying public” awaits a counter-response from the Bureau, other regulators such as International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) may need to shed more light on these allegations to assure the safety of Nigerians.