An IRS Fokker 100 aircraft flying from Lagos to Kaduna with 89 passengers plus crew on board nearly crashed on the runway of Kaduna international airport yesterday morning.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the aircraft suddenly developed a hydraulic fault which forced the pilot to activate an emergency landing around 11am.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Managing Director of IRS Airline, Captain Yemi Dada, confirmed the incident but said the flight crew took precautionary measures after the aircraft warned of a malfunction.
He said, "On final approach to Kaduna today [Sunday] on our Flight 3390 with 89 passengers, our cockpit crew got a low hydraulic in System 1 warning and decided to take precautionary measures to ask for ground confirmation that all gears were down and locked and the aircraft landed normally after the control tower had confirmed that the gears were all down normally.
"The crew proceeded to land but followed procedure to disembark on the runway and not taxi in accordance with the procedure. All passengers disembarked normally and the aircraft was towed to the ramp. The maintenance crew are inspecting to confirm the issue that caused the warning to the crew."
Also, the spokesman of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Yakubu Dati, confirmed the incident but described it as "minor".
Similarly, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Fola Akinkuotu, confirmed through a text message that the Fokker plane had a problem but landed safely. His text read: "An aircraft F.100 with registration No 5N-HIR, operated by IRS Airline landed safely, following a hydraulic leakage on the runway of Kaduna airport today (yesterday), October 13, 2013. The NCAA has directed the airline to tow the aircraft to the apron and has commenced investigation into the incident. The NCAA wishes to assure all air travellers of their safety and caution against magnifying a manageable incident out of proportion."
This is the second near miss of planes in the nation's airspace since the October 3 plane crash of Associated Airlines that killed about 15 persons in Lagos.