FG orders probe into Aero Contractor's use of ladder to disembark passengers

By The Rainbow
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The Federal Government has directed an immediate investigation into the use of ladder by Aero Contractors Airlines to disembark passengers on its chartered flight at the Bauchi Airport on Saturday.

The Minister of State for  Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, gave the directive on Sunday.

Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs of the Ministry, Mr James Odaudu, said that the minister’s action followed reports received about the incident.

Odaudu said, “Several reports received by the Minister have indicated the airline used a ladder to disembark passengers from a Boeing 737 aircraft at the Bauchi airport on Saturday December 19th 2015.

''The act is inconsistent with Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, NCAR and International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, Standards and Recommended Practices, SARPS.

“The investigation will determine the immediate and remote causes of the incident with a view to developing and implementing measures that will prevent a re-occurrence of the unsafe and unacceptable procedure that exposed  passengers to high risk of serious injury.

“He reiterated that if the airline is found culpable, the full weight of sanctions within extant laws and regulations would be applied.”

The  Minister, he added,  assures the travelling public that the Ministry of Transportation in collaboration with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, will ensure strict adherence to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations as well as ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices by all operators.

Aero Contractors airline was on Saturday forced to disembark 34 passengers on its chartered flight from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to Bauchi Airport, using ladder instead of the normal stairs normally provided by the ground handlers at every airport.

The airline however pointed out that as at the time the 34 passengers were boarding the chartered flight at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, the air stairs was functional.

Aero in a statement by its media consultant, SY & T, Aero Contractors , on Sunday,  “A special charter flight operated by Aero to Bauchi had problems with unserviceable equipment by the airport management in disembarking about 34 passengers from Abuja. Consequently against the airline's wish and operation safety guideline, the passengers used a ladder to disembark.”

“Aero wishes to state that it took adequate and safety measures for this operation, including the airport's ground staff crew to handle the air stairs equipment in Bauchi, unfortunately it became unserviceable at the point of disembarkation.

“Although the airline crew tried to calm down the passengers to wait while the equipment was being fixed, the passengers insisted on their own volition to disembark against all safety protocol of the airline,” Aero Airlines said in the statement.