Amid growing worries and consistent complain of aircraft failures by the general public, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has declared the fleet of aircraft owned by Air Peace, “airworthy”.
In a statement released by NCAA’s spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, the agency revealed that a comprehensive technical audit was carried out, not only because of the recent incident but also the airline’s operational, technical and safety performance in the last twelve months.
“NCAA has just completed a thorough technical audit of the airline and its fleet of aircraft with a view to ensuring the airline is in compliance with extant Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs), and to mitigate the reoccurrence of the incident,” the regulatory authority said.
Based on findings from the audit, the aviation regulator gave an assurance to the flying public that all the aircraft on the fleet of NCAA-authorized Air Operators Certificate (AOC) holders operating in Nigeria are airworthy. “The authority shall continue to ensure only airworthy aircraft are permitted to operate,” the body added.
This audit is coming a few days after an Air Peace aircraft arriving Lagos from Port-Harcourt was reported to have encountered difficulties. Bad weather, poor visibility and other factors caused a hard landing of the aircraft, causing the nose wheels to separate from the strut. Though no life was lost, people took to social media to express their fears of the safety of the aircraft.
The airplane – a Boeing 737-300 with registration number 5N-BQO – is over 21 years old and has served in other airlines like Virgin Express, Brussels Airline and Discovery Air before it was purchased by Air Peace in 2015, Planespotters reports. The long-term continuous use of this craft might have left people questioning its safety and if it should even still be in use in the first place.
Despite the NCAA verdict, however, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) is currently carrying out an investigation on the incident. The bureau hopes to determine some of the factors that might have contributed to the accident, as is required under international standards by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).