Several reports reaching the Honourable Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika indicates that the Aero Contractors Airlines used a ladder to disembark passengers from a Boeing 737 aircraft at the Bauchi airport on Saturday December 19th 2015 instead of the stairs normally provided by the ground handlers at every airport.
Haven received this complaints, the minister has on Sunday December 20th 2015, directed an immediate investigation into the use of the unauthorized equipment by Aero Contractors Airlines at the conclusion of a charter flight to Bauchi over the weekend.
According to the statement issued by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs of the Ministry, Mr James Odaudu, the minister’s action followed reports received about the incident.
The statement reads:
The act is inconsistent with Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, NCAR and International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, Standards and Recommended Practices, SARPS.
The investigation will determine the immediate and remote causes of the incident 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.
He reiterated that if the airline is found culpable, the full weight of sanctions within extant laws and regulations would be applied.
Mr. Odaudu further said that the minister assures the travelling 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.
In a statement by its media consultant, SY & T, Aero Contractors pointed out on Sunday that at the time the 34 passengers were boarding the chartered flight at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, the air stairs was functional but it developed problem because the airport management was unable to service all its aircraft equipment. The airline specifically said,
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.
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