An Air Peace Airline Boeing 737- 300 aircraft ran into poor weather conditions on approach to the Lagos airport compelling the pilot to force-land at the international airport runway, the airline’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olajie said on Tuesday.
The aircraft which had 133 passengers and six crew members on board was on approach to the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos from Port Harcourt when the incident occurred. It had as its Captain-in-Command, a female pilot, Ms. Semisola Ajibola.
“Captain Ajibola noticed sudden weather changes when approaching Lagos and demanded to land on the international runway which is longer and wider than the runway on the domestic terminal of the Lagos airport,” said the Air Peace COO.
“After landing safely and rolling to the runway exit, the nose gear developed a problem and partially collapsed. The crew notified the Lagos airport authorities who quickly ensured the safe disembarkation of the passengers via the aircraft passenger door,” Olajde added.
Commissioner/CEO of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Mr. Akin Olateru, told journalists that the agency had commenced its investigations into the incident.
“Our team of safety investigators has commenced investigations,” said Olateru.
“The AIB was informed of a minor injury, but no fatality. From the information provided, the aircraft nose wheel collapsed on landing on the runway (18R) and the nose wheel gear tyre sheared off.
“As the investigating agency, AIB needs and hereby solicits your help. We want the public to know that we would be amenable to receiving any video clip, relevant evidence, or information any member of the public may have of the accident; that can assist us with this investigation,” Olateru added.
The incident had led to aircraft traffic congestion at the Lagos airport as Air Traffic Controllers tries to manage incoming and outgoing flights with one – out of the two runways – now functioning pending the removal of the broken down Air Peace Aircraft and another plane belonging to Turkish Airways which also broke down on the same runway on Tuesday morning.
It is the third time in about two months that airlines will experience difficulties landing at Nigerian airports owing to bad weather conditions. The first involved an Ethiopian Airline B777 which aborted it’s landing and made a go-round at the Lagos airport following bad weather which marred visibility for the pilot, while the second involved an Air Peace B737 which crash landed at the runway of the Port Harcourt airport after being cleared to land while it was raining.
The NCAA has warned pilots and airlines not to fly under harsh weather conditions given the risk of possible air accidents.