6 May 2010

Nigeria: Another Aero Flight Disrupted

Lagos — Days after a weather condition delayed an Abuja-Lagos bound flight operated by Aero Contractors on Sunday which made the pilot to stay for an extra 50 minutes in the air, one of the airline's aircraft suffered another flight disruption on its Lagos-Benin bound flight yesterday.

The aircraft which was due to depart Lagos for Benin at noon from the Murtala Muhammad Airport Two (MMA2) was discovered to have technical fault when the pilot tried to start the engine. Passengers were asked to disembark from the aircraft and booked for an alternative flight operated by the airline. The aircraft was then kept at Aero's hangar for engineers to carry out checks and assess the problem.

Aero in a statement said, "For over 50 years Aero has continued to operate to the highest safety standards in the aviation scene in Nigeria. On the 05 May 2010 at 14H20, Aero's flight AJ 161 was scheduled to depart from Lagos to Benin . On powering up the engines, the crew observed reduced power output on the number two engine. The captain immediately returned the aircraft to the terminal, customers were disembarked and the Boeing 737-500 was moved to the hangar for further investigation."

According to the statement, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was duly informed of the event. Customers were accommodated on alternative flights to their destinations. Earlier, they cleared the air on the Sunday incident involving an Aero Boeing 737 aircraft in which passengers on board traded blames over the anxiety that enveloped its flight, forcing the pilot to hover in the air for more than necessary.

The NCAA DG, Harold Demuren together with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) attributed the delay in the aircraft's landing to a line of thick cloud that covered a large expanse in the atmosphere from the Bida end of the Nigerian airspace into Lagos .

Speaking to journalists after heads of aviation agencies met in Lagos with all domestic airline operators in Nigeria, Demuren along side his NIMET DG Dr. Anthony Anoforum, explained that though there was nothing unusual about the flight, passengers on board had sufficient cause to be worried because it took more than the required time to get the aircraft on ground.

They explained that the pilot complied with the required standard of operating procedure in handling the turbulence, even as they affirmed that the pilot did not miss approach at landing the aircraft more than the required time.

Towards ensuring safety in the Nigerian airspace, they spoke of plans by government to take delivery of two sets of weather radar Doppler that will soon arrive the country while six other weather radar Dopplers will be delivered in the next few months.

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