The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has launched a probe into the Air Peace Airline’s Lagos – Enugu bound aircraft loss of cabin pressure incident which occurred last Friday, says it’s spokesman, Mr. Sam Adurogboye.
But the spokesman for Air Peace, Mr. Chris Iwarah, has dismissed reports alleging that the Lagos-Enugu aircraft experienced a near-crash incident following the loss of cabin pressure, describing the claims as an unfortunate misrepresentation of facts.
Iwarah in a statement on Monday acknowledged that “The aircraft experienced a change in cabin pressure en-route to Enugu and its flight crew had to do the normal technical manoeuvre by descending to a level comfortable enough for passengers on board.
“Change in cabin pressure is a common occurrence in aviation across the world, including the UK and America. And where there is a change in cabin pressure, the oxygen masks will automatically drop from the panel for use by passengers on board the aircraft. And this exactly was what happened last Friday,” Iwarah added.
Iwarah however said the airline cabin crew did observe cases of some passengers who did not properly fit their oxygen masks.
“A few others, perhaps out of panic, pulled too hard on the oxygen masks, causing the equipment to snap.
“This led to the unfortunate claims that there was no flow of oxygen from the masks.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the oxygen generators are part of the items of interest during C-checks.
“So, it could not have been right that there was no flow of oxygen,” Iwarah added.
Adurogboye in a statement said the NCAA will also look into claims that the oxygen mask failed.
“The investigation will be thorough and will include the review of the videos making the rounds in the social media on the Oxygen Mask failure incident that reportedly occurred in the airline’s Lagos-Enugu service last Friday,” Adurogboye said.
“The investigation will be conducted in line with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015.
“At the conclusion of the investigation, the recommendations will be fully implemented.
“But the NCAA wishes to assure all passengers that all aircraft operating in Nigeria are airworthy (fit to fly). Our Ramp inspections have been strengthened accordingly with the seasonal increase in the volume of passengers,” he added.
Adurogboye, however, warned all operating airlines to observe the Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for flying the Nigerian sky as any infractions will be treated in line with the provision of the regulations.
Air Peace also debunked insinuations the aircraft was not airworthy explaining that the aircraft secured a renewal of its certificate of airworthiness (C of A) on December 10.
Said Iwarah, “While it is quite expected and understandable that passengers would panic on occurrence of incidents such as a change in cabin pressure, the claims of a near-crash were a regrettable misrepresentation of facts which really should not be.
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“The aircraft was ferried from Enugu back to Lagos in less than an hour of safely landing at destination. Certainly, no pilot or crew would fly an aircraft that is not airworthy.
“The aircraft involved in the incident had its certificate of airworthiness renewed on Monday, December 10, 2018. The aircraft also went for its mandatory comprehensive maintenance checks (C-checks) abroad and got its Certificate of Release to Service (CRS) in September 2017,” Iwarah added.