AIR PEACE has perceived a subtle lack of synergy among certain agencies within the aviation industry and states that this is affecting airlines and stakeholders the wrong way as well as hampering progress.
The airline was explaining certain issues that transpired following reports of its hard landing on May 15, 2019,` which the accident investigation bureau had claimed the airline did not report.
Captain Victor Egonu, the airline’s chief pilot while speaking with newsmen explained that harmony in working together will reduce unnecessary tension around the industry as well as the escalation of certain trivialities
According to him, with what has happened, the AIB is creating a gray area about what is to be termed a serious accident or and incident especially as the AIB handbook does not say anything about a hard landing being a serious incident.
He said most of what happened was avoidable if agencies would work together.
“We strongly believe that NCAA and AIB should work together, you’re not competing against each other, you are there to complement one another. You have your specialty which is investigating incidents and accidents but the NCAA is the overall regulatory body. When we have instances where we have air misses, we do not write or contact NAMA. We don’t have a direct interaction with NAMA, what we do is we contact NCAA, NCAA then contacts NAMA.
NCAA collects the record from the tower and then invites us and NAMA to NCAA to go over the recordings and all. So if that affinity is there between NAMA, FAAN and NCAA why AIB outside that umbrella, I fail to understand,” he queried.
He said the airline’s aircraft tire had picked up a Foreign Object Damage (FOD) in Abuja on its tires and wonders if that is to be reported as a serious incident since the AIB is asking for MORs
“To bring you up to date…we had a tire incident at Abuja airport and we change the tire, now should we report a tire burst to the AIB? The AIB is trying to create a gray area
“We don’t know is whether we should report tire burst to AIB. The thing is first it’s a minor thing unfortunately it has happened and we just changed the tires but the thing is AIB is trying to create a grey area where what is the definition of serious incident or accident. I went through their books and there’s nothing here that talks about hard landing, so how do we define what is hard landing and what is reportable.
Explaining the chain further, Captain Egonu said, “As an airline we don’t feel we have to report our Mandatory Occurrence Report (MOR) to multiple agencies. We have given our MOR to the NCAA, and NCAA is the umbrella body, the seriousness of an accident depends on them, they now call in AIB and to hand it to AIB to take over so having handed in the MOR to NCAA as far as we are concerned we complied with the requirements of the law.
The chief pilot expressed disappointment at the insinuation that the airline was hiding incidents stating that if the AIB requires the airline to send every MOR to it that can be arranged but to say it doesn’t report those incidents is far from the truth.
“With that aircraft, for people to say that we tried to shield information from the authorities and we were not transparent, its being economical with the truth. I think we have done everything we can do, we did not try to circumvent any rules
“Other airlines have had similar and even worse issues than we have had and it has not been reported the way ours have. I think we should all be treated with the same hand. Can we be better yes, we can.
“The last thing we want is an accident for air peace or any airline in Nigeria, if accidents happen it affects all of us, passenger levels drops and everyone’s passenger figures are affected. It affects everybody.
On the state and airworthiness of that aircraft that is in the new, the Air Peace Chief Pilot said the airline has cxontacted the aircraft manufacturers and after theitr analysis and subject to NCAA’s approval, the airline can choose to repair the aircraft or not.
“We contacted the aircraft manufacturer Boeing. They gave us tests to run and do, all the tests have been done and we are waiting for them to come back to us and tell us what to do with the aircraft. We are waiting forthem to tell us what to do with the aircraft, we also have to ascertain if the damage is something we can repair in Nigeria or if we are takin it out of the country to repair it and if we are taking it out can we actually take it out of Nigeria.
“The aircraft hasn’t moved because we are waiting to get correct information from the manufacturers on what we require to be done. when we get the information we would have to submit this to the NCAA airworthiness, they will go through it and if they are satisfied which i am sure they will be because this is coming from the manufacturers they will now allow us to go ahead with the repairs, like I said, its left for us to decide do we repair the aeroplane.
On safety and training of its crew, Captain Egonu said , “We are one airline that go out of our way to ensure safety . According to regulation, every six months pilots undergo 8hours recurrent training bit but here at Air peace we do almost double that every six months, we do 12 hours recurrent training. We do this for safety to get the pilot to standard.
” We have 136 pilots and all these pilots undergo this recurrent training and some of them fail, but at air peace, we give them the opportunity to retake the recurrency at no expense and if they fail again we then let them go.