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AIB accuses Air Peace of failure to report serious incidents to Bureau

  • No! We reported to NCAA, Boeing; Air Peace reacts
ACCIDENT Investigation Bureau (AIB) has expressed in strong terms, slammed Air Peace Limited over what it described as ‘persistent failure of some airlines to report accidents or serious incidents to the Bureau.

The AIB in a statement today signed by Mr. Tunji Oketumbi, the spokesman alluded to various contravention insisting that the safety of the flying public in significance, supersedes the commercial consideration of any airline.

According to the statement, the AIB said that on the 5th of June 2019, the Bureau received notification about a serious incident involving a Boeing 737-300 aircraft with Registration Marks 5N-BUK, belonging to Air Peace Limited from a passenger onboard.

It was reported that the said incident occurred on Wednesday, 15th May 2019, while the aircraft was on approach to Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from Port Harcourt. The aircraft was said to have experienced a hard landing as it touched down on the runway (18R).

The AIBs statement read,”Of utmost concern is the fact that till date, the Accident Investigation Bureau has received no notification of the incident: three (3) weeks after the date of occurrence, contrary to ICAO Annex 13 which guides the operations of aircraft accident investigation procedures.”

“Rather, the Bureau further to the occurrence, received a submission of a ‘Mandatory Occurrence Report’(MOR) subsequently filed at NCAA, on 7th June 2019, which filing was as a direct result of the Bureau’s visit to Air Peace office on the 6th day of June 2019.

However, Chairman of Air Peace Allen Onyema has said that the airline has not concealed any incident it has had, serious or otherwise.

The Air Peace boss explained on the current incident that the airline reported to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and also wrote to Boeing and the manufacturer of the aircraft’s engine, CPM International unlike the misunderstanding that is in the fore.

According to the AIB, upon receipt of the notification, the Bureau visited Air Peace Limited office and confirmed the said occurrence.

The Bureau further conducted a damage assessment on the aircraft, which revealed that the aircraft made contact on the runway with the starboard engine cowling as obvious from various scrapes, scratches and dents, an evidence of tyre scouring on the sidewalls of the No. 4 tyre as well as bottoming of the main landing gear oleo struts. There was also visible damage to the right-hand engine compressor blades.

The aircraft has since been on ground, awaiting implementation of the hard landing inspections recommended by the aircraft manufacturer, the Boeing Company.

This includes an inspection of the right-hand engine pylons and the wing root, due to the heavy impact concerns.

Further discussions with the Maintenance Personnel of Air Peace Limited revealed that CFM International, the engine manufacturer, has also been contacted with regard to necessary inspections, to ascertain the serviceability of the starboard engine.

The AIB also accused Air Peace of a similar incident on December 14th, 2018,stating that the airline willfully failed to comply with the provisions of the Bureau’s Regulations which provides that:

‘Subject to paragraph (2) below and regulation 14 where an accident or a serious incident which results in the withdrawal from service of an aircraft occurs in or over Nigeria, no person, other than an authorised person, shall have access to the aircraft involved and neither the aircraft nor its contents shall, except under the authority of the Commissioner, be removed or otherwise interfered with.

Where it is necessary to move aircraft wreckage, mail or cargo, sketches, descriptive notes, and photographs shall be made if possible, of the original positions and condition of the wreckage and any significant impact marks.’

According to the AIB, a Boeing 737-300 belonging to the airline, with registration marks 5N-BUO, enroute Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from Lagos was involved in a serious incident at about 10:44hrs. The information only got to the Bureau through the social media.

“Whist the Bureau was not notified of the occurrence until later in the evening, AIB investigators met the aircraft at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) apron in Lagos where it was parked with the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) affected, thereby posing an undesirable difficulty in the Bureau’s bid to successfully discharge its statutory mandate of investigating accidents and serious incidents.

“A careful investigation of the incident by the Bureau, revealed that the aircraft was relocated from Enugu where the incident occurred, back to Lagos: and all relevant information on the CVR was over written, thereby making it impossible for the Bureau to retrieve the actual data.

“The Accountable Manager and Chief Pilot of Air Peace Limited at the material time, were duly warned by the Bureau for non-compliance with the Regulations.

“Based on all the foregoing, it is obvious that Air Peace Management lacks the full understanding of the statutory mandates, functions and procedures of the Bureau.

Reacting to the allegation, the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema said:

“When the incident occurred we report it to NCAA. We followed the aircraft manual, which guided us on what to do when such incident occurred. We wrote to Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer and also wrote to the engine manufacturer, CPM International. We also grounded the aircraft.

“We always report any incident to NCAA and sometimes you may not know what to report to AIB because the NCAA is the regulatory authority and the Bureau is in charge of accident investigation. So when incident like hard landing happens and you inform NCAA, we feel we have followed the procedure. Boeing has written back to us and has told us what to do, according to the procedure, currently inspection is being carried out on the aircraft,” Onyema said.

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