Tropical Artic Logistics (TAL) Limited, the owners of the helicopter used in picking up a passenger recently trapped in traffic on the Benin-Ore expressway on Thursday last week has said its operations were not in breach of any civil aviation regulation in Nigeria.
Chief Operating Officer of TAL, Mr. Femi Adeniji, at a press briefing in Lagos explained that the helicopter was chartered for a medical evacuation exercise (to airlift a Nigerian that was critically sick) and that it had obtained the requisite regulatory approvals from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
Adeniji spoke against the backdrop of criticisms that the helicopter had breached regulations as it was engaged in an illegal operation by diverting from its approved route to pick up a passenger on the busy Benin-Ore road.
“We did not violate any law; we filed for a flight path and got approval by NAMA for that operation on Benin-Ore expressway,” said Adeniji.
“We have an Air Operating Certificate from the NCAA and we are licensed to carry out medical evacuation operations and on that day we were engaged to airlift of an individual who suffered a serious health challenge while caught in traffic and needed emergency evacuation,” he added.
Adeniji said the company was surprised at the undue outrage that the operation generated in Nigeria, noting however, that the company was not issued any queries by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) bothering on any breach of civil aviation regulations concerning the flight.
Adeniji said: “I wish to state that our mission for that flight was to save life and immediately we got the call, we swung into action and rushed to the site in record time to pick the individual who is currently recuperating in hospital.
“The Benin – Ore road evacuation was conducted in close collaboration with security agencies, the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police, and they worked assiduously to clear the gridlock caused by the ongoing road construction for us to assist the sick person. And they directed us to a cleared portion of the road where the operation was handled free from any incident, “Adeniyi added.