The management of Air Peace has suspected acts of sabotage to its operations over incessant ramp accidents involving its aircraft and ground handling equipment operated by Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc.
This was coming on the heels of three accidents, within a month, involving NAHCO’s equipment and aircraft owned by the airline.
On Wednesday, a stair equipment operated by a personnel of NAHCO rammed into an aircraft belonging to Air Peace at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, leading to the damage of the aircraft’s elevator; thereby disrupting its flight operations.
An reliable source confided in our correspondent that the Wednesday accident was the third time within one month that NAHCO equipment would cause serious damage to aircraft of Air Peace.
With this, Air Peace is suspecting sabotage against its operations by some unscrupulous elements in the industry and therefore called on the relevant authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into the incessant damage to its equipment by the staff of NAHCO Plc.
The source at the scene of the accident affirmed the worker who caused it had no reason to be where he was. The source insisted that he was not assigned to the aircraft and how he rammed into our aircraft remains a shock.
The source also gave details of the damaged aircraft as an Airbus A320 with the registration number: A320 ES-SAZ.
According to the source, before the incident occurred, the aircraft was scheduled to ferry passengers from Lagos to Owerri for a 7.00 a.m flight, while the same airplane was positioned for about 10 flights on the day of the incident.
When contacted, spokesman of Air Peace, Mr. Stanley Olisa confirmed the incident to our correspondent on phone.
Olisa confirmed that the incident occurred in the morning when the aircraft was scheduled to airlift passengers to Owerri from Lagos.
The image maker of the West African largest airline suspected that its operations were being sabotaged by some people in the sector, wondering if it was meant to reduce its capacity.
He said: “This is going to cause revenue loss for us as an airline. The aircraft was scheduled to operate several flights today (Wednesday), but could not do so, causing flight disruptions and delays.
“The authorities should investigate the incident and take necessary actions. We have made a formal complaint to NAHCO management on the development.”
Similarly, the Executive Director, Business and Corporate Services (GED), NAHCO Plc, Dr. Sola Obabori, confirmed the incident to our correspondent on phone.
Obabori who described Air Peace as a key client of NAHCO, however, ruled out any form of sabotage from any staff of the company
Obabori insisted that its entire staff, including the airside staff were well-trained and certified by both local and international bodies.
He emphasised that the handling company would investigate the incident, stressing that its management would discuss with Air Peace management on the incident.
Olabori told our correspondent that the handling company had filed a report on the incident, adding that the company had commenced an engagement with the airline on it
He said: “It is not possible for us to deliberately and maliciously damage our key customer’s equipment. We are doing the best that we can to take care of our customers. Air Peace is a key customer of NAHCO without any doubt. We share a very cordial relationship with them and we have been together all these years, we serve them diligently and professionally.
“Our staff are well-trained, accidents do happen. You will agree with me that aircraft do crash due to human error. In this particular case, our operative was driving to attend to another flight that arrived before Air Peace.
“He was driving towards that direction and wanted to support that operation, but he committed an error in terms of processes he was supposed to follow, which he didn’t follow and that was what caused the incident. The guy had a blind spot, which prevented him from seeing well. We will review what has happened so that there will not be a recurrence again.”