As reaction has continued to erupt to an Air Peace crash report, most people are urging the fourth estate to be circumspect and always clarify things before making a publication, where information about the Aviation industry needs to be accurate and verified before going to the general public.
Additionally, Overland Airways criticised the newspaper where the original report was published for attaching a picture of its aircraft to the crash story, alleging the newspaper’s intention was malicious and demanding an apology and a corrigendum for the incident.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday made a statement through its General Manager Public Relations, Mr Sam Adurogboye, confirming that there had been no air accident involving Air Peace or any other airline in Nigeria.
CAA reports aircraft belonging to Air Peace with Registration Mark 5N-BQR carried 66 passengers and 6 crew members, not even 133 as falsely reported, creating unnecessary panic. Passengers were debarked on the 23rd of July, 2021, without any issues whatsoever.
The NCAA said, “We are urging our media partners to be professional and avoid false reports that will harm our reputation.”. NCAA is committed to ensuring safe and secure air transportation in Nigeria and will stop at nothing to ensure that our over eight (8) years of zero accidents and no fatalities in scheduled flight operations continue.
In the meantime, after 24 hours of partial closure of the runway at the Ilorin International Airport, normal flight operations resumed on Sunday with a large crowd at the airport as authorities evacuated the aircraft on Saturday afternoon.
Air Peace B737-500 plane from Abuja experienced a tyre burst after landing at the airport on Friday morning, causing the airport to be temporarily closed.
Adeyeoluwa Oluwakayode, the head of corporate affairs at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the airport, confirmed that three flights were operated on Saturday.
Similarly, he dismissed the plane crash report in Ilorin, saying that what happened was a mere tyre burst, which was salvaged by the airport authority, the airline, and others.
According to him, a tyre burst on a flight last Friday, and that’s exactly what happened.
“We are already flying now. After the incident, others involved in evacuation tried as hard as possible to assist the airport and the airline.
We have evacuated the aircraft. Illorin Airport has so far conducted three Overland flights yesterday to salvage the situation. This morning, I can tell you that the Air Peace flight has arrived from Lagos and departed for Abuja. We will make two flights to Abuja.
“I was surprised when I saw it all over the place; they were talking about the plane crash. The plane did not crash, and none of the passengers was injured. All passengers alighted from the aircraft safely and peacefully, then left and departed. This is one of the operational issues we face in aviation. It is nothing unusual. Fortunately, we followed all procedures, and after that, we began flying.