Three months after the nation’s aviation industry recorded two major incidents involving four aircraft, another two airplanes belonging to Arik Air on Tuesday afternoon were involved in another incident at the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, MMA, Lagos.
The two aircraft, Boeing 737-800NG, the airline said involved in a wing-tip brush when one of the aircraft with the registration number 5N-MJP was marshalled out of the ramp for a scheduled flight when its wing brushed that of another aircraft, 5N-MJQ parked on the ramp.
Statement by the spokesman of Arik Air, Mr. Ola Adebanji, said the incident was not major as safety of passengers was not compromised.
Banji said that the management had since grounded the two aircraft that were involved in the incident while appropriate authorities had been informed.
In July, at the airport, an Emirates aircraft, Boeing 777-200 with the flight number EK782 to Dubai with over 300 passengers on-board had collided with a stationed Hak Air aircraft when it was taxing to the take-off point at the local wing.
Its wingtip made a contact with the tail of a Hak Air aircraft parked at the apron of the airport.
Both aircraft involved in the incident had substantial damage and source close to the scene of the incident said the incident might have occurred due to the closure of the international runway, 18Left, which had safety issue as at the time while there was already a Notice To Airmen, NOTAM, by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, to all operators.
Less than two weeks later, another disaster was again averted at the airport with two aircraft belonging to FirstNation colliding at the same airport.
One of the aircraft, Airbus 319 with about 130 on-board passengers was taxiing from the runway to Murtala Mohammed Airport Two, MMA2, to disengage passengers while the other aircraft, another A319 was preparing to take off to Port Harcourt Airport from the same terminal.
The management of the airline blamed FAAN’s marshaller that handled the aircraft, saying that he misdirected the pilot.
FirstNation Airways management stressed that if the marshaller had been well-trained, he would have carried out his job more diligently while the accident would have been avoided.
Speaking on recent incidents involving airlines at the airside, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Century Securities, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), said that paramount in global aviation industry was about safety and security, which he said had been neglected in the country’s aviation sector.
He warned that the recent incidents may be a build up to another accident if not immediately tackled by the respective agencies especially the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.
Besides, he emphasised that most of the incidents or accidents continued due to the inability of the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, to publish to the public and operators in the sector its safety recommendations.
He said: “Aviation goes beyond passengers airlifting, but about safety. Government has not done anything in the past 10 years to protect the sector. Safety recommendations are not shared to operators. Out of 150 safety recommendations, only 30 have been implemented by NCAA in the past few years.