Aero Contractors And Their Ladder Of Shame

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There’s no place in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, or the International Civil Aviation Organization that the use of ladder in disembarking from an airplane is a recommended or standard best practice. This is too elementary a regulation that anyone should know let alone, an airline that represents Nigeria’s oldest carrier. Last weekend, Aero Contractors once again reminded Nigerians about the horrible aviation records in the country when passengers, 34 of them, used a ladder meant for electricity poll climbing, to disembark from their aircraft. The pictures engulfed the Internet. Some used it as their profile pictures on various social media platforms, comedians made jokes out of it and funny television stations in Africa also used it to spice up their program. The shame was huge, for a nation as big as Nigeria.

For Aero, the shame of using ladder to disembark their aircraft wasn’t enough, they had to further it by explaining to the general public that the reason for such an unruly practice was because the aircraft, which by the way was supposed to be a “special charter flight”, had problems with unserviceable equipments. How convenient I dare say?! They went further to say that the airline crew tried to calm the passengers to wait while the equipment was being fixed, but the passengers were too in a haste to get off the plane, and they did so out of their own volition. Unbelievable! This sort of story always trigger my old slang of balderdash. This is a high level display of irresponsibility and recklessness, a dangerous character to project in the face of a devastating insecurity in the country and across the globe. The pathetic sight of passengers climbing ladder poles to disembark from an aircraft is not just shameful or shows the lack of common sense, but also inconsistent with human dignity or ethical conducts. Every airline use an external or inbuilt staircase to board passengers from certified companies, Aero can’t say they are unaware of this. The question that keeps running up on my mind is, did they think such practice won’t ever make the news headline?

The circumstance we are opened to right now as a result of this action by Aero Contractors, is that if a nation’s oldest airline can be this irresponsible, flaunting aviation’s rules and regulations, then the actions of newer airlines can only be left to our imaginations. All passengers on board any air flight are bound to obey the rules and regulations of the airline, and that includes the cabin crew members. In any case where they disobey, there’s a reasonable sanction to erring passengers. It really doesn’t matter what the situation is, in or out of the airspace, the airline is responsible for the actions and inactionsof all passengers on board.

We’ve had cases of aircraft crash, flight delays, flight cancellations without excuses and many other inadequacies. The shortfalls are becoming one too many and the reason isn’t really too far from us- those who should check the excesses of these airlines are either not doing their jobs well or completely incompetent in it. The new Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, who have promised to conduct an investigation on the shameless exhibition should make sure nothing delays it.Nigerians want answers. They need to see that those in authority have their interests well covered. They need to see that the promised change in the aviation industry is delivered. A failure to do this will definitely undermine the integrity of the industry which in the long run, will shatter the aviation industry and the trust of the traveling public. One ultimate message an inconclusive or half-baked investigation will send out there will be that the Ministry of Transportation and the

Civil Aviation Authority cannot deliver on their promise to strictly adhere to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) or the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard practice.

Without urgently getting to the bottom of this shameful exhibition by Aero Contractors, Nigerians and other air travelers in the country won’t feel safe or secure when it comes to air transport services in the country. The shame is already too many, we can’t continue to add more to the pool.

God bless Nigeria!
Written by Jeff Okoroafor, founder and president of opinionnigeria, a good governance advocate and civil rights activist. He is also one of the strategic team members for the bring back our girls movement.

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