Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has accused Air Peace of concealing serious incidents that involved two of its aircraft between December 2018 and May 2019, thereby preventing it from carrying out thorough investigations on them in order to prevent reoccurrence.
Rather than being informed of the two incidents, AIB said it got wind of them through a passenger on June 5, 2019, which was almost three weeks later and on social media despite all the available channels opened for operators and other stakeholders to report such incidents to it.
AIB stated that the non-reporting of the incidents by the management of the airline contravened the Annex 13 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on accident and incident reporting.
A statement issued today by the General Manager, Public Affairs, AIB, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, explained that on December 14, 2018, a Boeing 737-300 belonging to the airline, with registration marks 5N-BUO, enroute Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from Lagos was involved in a serious incident at about 10:44hrs.
Oketunji explained that the airline got the information through the social media, while it was not notified of the occurrence until later in the evening.
Oketunbi emphasized that its investigators met the aircraft at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) apron in Lagos where it was parked with the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) affected, thereby posing an undesirable difficulty in the bureau’s bid to successfully discharge its statutory mandate of investigating accidents and serious incidents.
He maintained that a careful investigation of the incident by the bureau, revealed that the aircraft was relocated from Enugu where the incident occurred to Lagos with all relevant information on the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) overwritten, thereby making it impossible for AIB to retrieve the actual data.
It said the bureau warned the accountable manager and chief pilot of Air Peace Limited for non-compliance with the regulations.
Again, AIB alleged that on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, a serious incident involving a Boeing 737-300 aircraft with registration Marks 5N-BUK, belonging to Air Peace Limited was also concealed from it.
The bureau said it received the information on the said incident through a passenger onboard on June 5, 2019, three weeks later.
Oketunbi said that the aircraft in question had departed Port Harcourt for Lagos before the incident.
According to him, on approach to Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, the aircraft was said to have experienced a hard landing as it touched down on the runway (18R), yet, it was concealed away from the bureau.
He added: ”Upon receipt of the notification, the bureau visited Air Peace Limited office and confirmed the said occurrence. The bureau further conducted a damage assessment on the aircraft, which revealed that the aircraft made contact on the runway with the starboard engine cowling as obvious from various scrapes, scratches and dents, an evidence of tyre scouring on the sidewalls of the No. 4 tyre as well as bottoming of the main landing gear oleo struts.
“There was also visible damage to the right-hand engine compressor blades. The aircraft has since been on ground, awaiting implementation of the hard landing inspections recommended by the aircraft manufacturer, the Boeing Company. This includes an inspection of the right-hand engine pylons and the wing root, due to the heavy impact concerns.
“Further discussions with the Maintenance Personnel of Air Peace Limited revealed that CFM International, the engine manufacturer, has also been contacted with regard to necessary inspections, to ascertain the serviceability of the starboard engine.”
It decried that to date, it was yet to receive notification of the incident three weeks after the date of occurrence, contrary to ICAO Annex 13, which guides the operations of aircraft accident investigation procedures.
Rather, it said further to the occurrence, it received a submission of a ‘Mandatory Occurrence Report’(MOR) subsequently filed at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), on June 7, 2019, which filing was as a direct result of its visit to Air Peace office a day earlier.
An MOR is a Mandatory Occurrence Report that an operator files after an occurrence to NCAA and not a notification to the bureau as required by its regulations.
AIB insisted that safety of the flying public was of primary importance and on the scale of significance, supersedes the commercial consideration of any airline.
It said it had simplified its reporting systems to be user-friendly and any accidents or occurrence should be reported via the its emergency mobile lines, online reporting form, downloadable accident reporting form 001 and through its mobile application.