…why we used ladders-Aero Contractors
By Friday Nwosu
Nigeria’s Minster of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika has said the government of the country is greatly appalled by the use of unconventional equipment by Aero contractor, one of the nation’s airline operators in disembarking passengers at the Bauchi airport. He said the use of ladders for disembarking passengers at the airport negates the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, NCARs, saying such is unacceptable in modern day aviation. The Minister further directed that investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the incident be carried out with a view to developing and implementing measures that will prevent a re-occurrence of the unsafe and unacceptable procedure that exposed passengers to high risk of serious injury.
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 19th 2015. According to the Sirika, the act is inconsistent with Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS). He reiterated that if the airline is found culpable, the full weight of sanctions within extant laws and regulations would be applied on it. The Minister assures the traveling public that the Ministry of Transportation in collaboration with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will ensure strict adherence to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations as well as ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices by all operators.
According to a statement by James Odaudu, Head of Press and Public Relations, Sirika further states that the ministry will not shy away from its responsibility to ensure a safe and secure air transport services which he views as sacrosanct. However, the airline in a statement blamed the airport management for not having the requisite equipment for disembarking passengers at the airport. It said “A special charter flight operated by Aero to Bauchi had problems with unserviceable equipment by the airport management in disembarking about 34 passengers from Abuja. Consequently against the airline’s wish and operation safety guideline, the passengers used a ladder to disembark.” “However 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.” “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.” Bauchi Airport is a state owned airport and not under the management of the airport authority.