Arik Air has declared that its aircrafts are safe and in very good condition as it insists on its commitment to safety in all its operations, which it also said is well funded.
The reaction from the airline follows a story on social media that claims that Arik Air operations are unsafe due to an incident that occurred on March 8, 2021.
According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this was disclosed in a statement issued by the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, in Lagos on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
The allegation against Arik Air
It can be recalled that a Benin-based legal practitioner, R.O. Isenalumhe, had alleged that an Arik Air aircraft he travelled with on March 7, 2021, from Abuja to Benin was unsafe, although the airline disputed that, saying that the lawyer travelled on March 8.
The legal practitioner said, “The flight was 5.50 pm from Benin. The take-off from Benin Airport was traumatic and clearly indicative that the plane was not in order.
“We, however, managed to land at Abuja Airport after 1 hour 15 mins. I was to return to Benin on the 8th March 2021 at 4.15 pm with the same aircraft.
“After an hour delay, we managed to take off. But 15 minutes into the flight, there was an announcement from the pilot that the flight cannot continue. The reason given was that there is an opening somewhere maybe a door.”
What the Chief Executive of Arik Air is saying
However, while refuting the claim from the lawyer, Ilegbodu stated that” Our attention has been drawn to stories published on the social media claiming that Arik Air operations are unsafe following an incident last week.
“The incident referred to by the author of the article occurred in Abuja on the 8th of March, 2021.
“For the records, the actions taken by the crew of the flight were strictly precautionary as the Pilot-in-Command of the aircraft took the necessary safety measures by returning the aircraft to land as they have been well trained to do in line with standard practice, after observing a cautionary indication light in the cockpit.
“Our aircraft are modern, next-generation aircraft equipped with redundancies and annunciators that enhance safe operations in all stages of flight.
“Arik Air, in line with standard practice and being a responsible corporate organisation, notified the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which subsequently checked, certified and returned the aircraft to service after all mandatory reports and processes had been fulfilled in accordance with global safety standards.
“It is unfortunate that one R. Isenalumhe, a trained lawyer who raised the alarm, displayed an unprofessional approach to this issue as he is not an expert to declare an aircraft unsafe.
“We had expected him to go the extra mile to investigate and ask questions from professionals in the industry or refer the incident to the appropriate regulatory body, the NCAA if he felt so concerned about air safety.
“We wonder what his motive may be and Arik reserves the right to take action on this libellous and unprofessional conduct.
“Arik Air as an organisation goes over and above safety standards in all facets of our operations. This is clearly evident in our over 14 years of operating as an airline.
“Safety is our cardinal policy and we will never operate an aircraft that is unsafe. We seize this opportunity to assure our esteemed customers of our unflinching commitment to safety which can never be compromised”.
“Arik has not made any repayments to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on its pre-receivership debt as claimed by Mr Isenalumhe. Neither has AMCON put any undue pressure on Arik for repayments at the detriment of operation.
“Instead, AMCON had provided funds and all forms of support to assist the airline in its operations,” he added.
What you should know
- This is coming at a time the Federal Government through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is working round the clock to ensure the safety of aircrafts and the Nigerian airspace.
- This is also as airlines and other stakeholders in the aviation industry have requested a bailout from the Federal Government for an industry that has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
- It can be recalled that AMCON took over the assets of Arik Air in February 2017 and placed it under receivership over alleged mismanagement and debt in excess of N300b by its former owners.