Nigeria’s frontline domestic carrier, Air Peace, is alleging sabotage to its operations as an equipment of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc on Wednesday rammed into one of its aircraft at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
It was the third time in one month that NAHCO equipment would reportedly be damaging aircraft belonging to Air Peace Airline, a source told the Daily Independent.
Consequently, the airline has called on the relevant authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into the incessant damage to its aircraft by the staff of the handling company.
RELIABLESOURCENG.COM gathered that the damaged aircraft was an Airbus A320 with the registration number A320 ES-SAZ.
The incident led to the damage of the aircraft elevator by the NAHCO stairs equipment.
According to the source, the aircraft was scheduled to fly passengers from Lagos to Owerri at 7.00am, while also slated for about 10 other flights on the day of the incident.
Stanley Olisa, the Spokesman of Air Peace, who confirmed the incident said the aircraft was scheduled to airlift passengers to Owerri from Lagos. He suspected that its operations were being sabotaged by some people in the sector, wondering if it was meant to reduce its capacity.
He said: “This is the third time in one month. The aircraft is now grounded and we don’t know when it will be up again. The NAHCO staff had no reason to be where he was. He was not assigned to the aircraft and how he rammed into our aircraft is still shocking.
“This is going to cause revenue loss for us as an airline. The aircraft was scheduled to operate several flights today (Wednesday), but could not do so, causing flight disruptions and delays.
“The authorities should investigate the incident and take necessary actions. We have made a formal complaint to NAHCO management on the development.”
Also, Dr. Sola Obabori, Group Executive Director, Business and Corporate Services (GED), NAHCO, confirmed the incident, but ruled out any form of sabotage on the part of its company. He described Air Peace as its prime client.
Obabori insisted that its entire staff, including the airside staff, were well-trained and certified by both local and international bodies, adding that its company would investigate the incident.
He said NAHCO had filed a report on the incident and had commenced an engagement with the Air Peace.
“It is not possible for us to deliberately and maliciously damage our key customer’s equipment. We are doing the best that we can to take care of our customers. Air Peace is a key customer of NAHCO without any doubt. We share a very cordial relationship with them and we have been together all these years, we serve them diligently and professionally.
“Our staff are well-trained, accidents do happen. You will agree with me that aircraft do crash due to human error. In this particular case, our operative was driving to attend to another flight that arrived before Air Peace.
“He was driving towards that direction and wanted to support that operation, but he committed an error in terms of processes he was supposed to follow, which he didn’t follow and that was what caused the incident. The guy had a blind spot, which prevented him from seeing well. We will review what has happened so that there will not be a recurrence again,” Obabori explained in a statement.