The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO Aviance) on Sunday absolved itself of blame over Saturday’s disembarking of an Aero Contractors flight at Bauchi Airport through a metal ladder.
In a statement issued by its Manager, Corporate Communications, Tayo Ajakaiye, NAHCO Aviance said it was well known to Aero and other airlines that it does not operate in Bauchi airport.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (nahco aviance) has been drawn to reports making rounds on the social media to the effect that it was its failure to provide handling service to one of its esteemed clients, Aero Contractors, that caused passengers of the airline to disembark with ladder at the Bauchi Airport.
“Nothing can be further from the truth. NAHCO does not have operations in Bauchi. This fact is well known to both Aero and all our client airlines. So, for Aero to embark on that chartered flight to Bauchi, it definitely would have made its own private arrangements.
“Aero’s statement in this regard is particularly clear. It never mentioned NAHCO, nor for that matter, any ground handler as the reason it had to innovate.
“Bloggers and writers generally should try and do a little homework before going online to post what they believed was expert knowledge. It is share (sic) laziness for anyone who called himself a respected blogger not to find out what happened from NAHCO, or even Aero, before going online to spread misinformation without bothering what harm he is doing to others.”
NAHCO’s statement is coming on the heels of moves by the Federal Government to investigate the incident.
Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who directed for an immediate investigation said the incident is inconsistent with Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS).
A statement by spokesman of the aviation ministry said the investigation will determine the immediate and remote causes of the incident with a view to developing and implementing measures that will prevent a reoccurrence of the unsafe and unacceptable procedure that exposed passengers to high risk of serious injury.
He reiterated that if the airline is found culpable, the full weight of sanctions within extant laws and regulations would be applied on it.
The minister assured the travelling public that the ministry of transport in collaboration with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will ensure strict adherence to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations as well as ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices by all operators.
According to reports a special charter flight operated by Aero to Bauchi, on Saturday, did not have the required equipment by the airport management in disembarking about 34 passengers from Abuja. As a result, the passengers had to use an unconventional ladder to disembark from the aircraft.