The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has accused Air Peace of committing several safety infractions due to its persistent failure to report serious accidents and incidents involving its aircraft in the Nigerian Airspace.
The disclosure was made on Monday by the Chief Executive Officer/Commissioner of AIB, Akin Olateru. According to the AIB’s CEO, Air Peace has consistently concealed the safety information involving its aircraft, an action he described as violating the rules of engagement prescribed for airlines in line with extant regulations by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the AIB.
Air Peace’ infractions explained: While addressing Air Peace‘s alleged safety infractions, Olateru described with dismay how the Bureau was notified on June 5th, 2019 of a serious accident involving Air Peace Boeing 737-300 aircraft with Registration Marks 5N-BUK.
Similarly, Olateru cited an incident that earlier occurred on the 15th of May, involving an Air Peace aircraft while landing at the Lagos International Airport. Olateru stated that Air Peace aircraft was said to have experienced a hard landing as it touched down on the runway 18R at the Lagos Airport.
According to the AIB Boss, upon receipt of the notification of the incidents, the Bureau visited Air Peace Limited‘s office and confirmed the said occurrence. Further explaining that there was visible damage to the right-hand engine compressor blades.
The aircraft, he said, has since been on the ground, awaiting implementation of the hard landing inspections recommended by the aircraft manufacturer, Boeing Co. This, according to him, includes an inspection of the right-hand engine pylons and the wing root, due to the heavy impact concerns.
Air Peace violates the law: It was further revealed that a recent serious incident of an aircraft belonging to Air Peace Limited was not investigated due to the company’s non-compliance. According to Olateru, the airline willfully failed to comply with the provisions (paragraph 14) of the Bureau’s regulations.
Olateru recalled that, on December 14th, 2018, a Boeing 737-300 belonging to the airline, with registration marks 5N-BUO, en route Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from Lagos was involved in a serious incident at about 10:44hrs. Unfortunately, the Bureau first heard about the incident through social media, until later when AIB carried out its investigation to establish the incident. Olateru further disclosed;
“A careful investigation of the incident by the Bureau revealed that the aircraft was relocated from Enugu where the incident occurred, back to Lagos. All relevant information on the CVR was over-written, thereby making it impossible for the Bureau to retrieve the actual data.
“The Accountable Manager and Chief Pilot of Air Peace Limited at the material time were duly warned by the Bureau for non-compliance with the Regulations.”
AIB is worried: These are indications that the AIB is seriously worried about Air Peace’s management refusal to permit a proper probe of its troubled Aircraft. Olateru affirmed on one of the recent incident;
“‘An incident involving circumstances indicating that there was a high probability of an accident, and is associated with the operation of an aircraft.
“Of utmost concern is the fact that till date, the Accident Investigation Bureau has received no notification of the incident three weeks after the date of occurrence, contrary to ICAO Annex 13 which guides the operations of aircraft accident investigation procedures.
“Rather, the Bureau further to the occurrence received a submission of a ‘Mandatory Occurrence Report’ (MOR) subsequently filed at NCAA, on 7th June 2019, which filing was as a direct result of the Bureau’s visit to Air Peace office on the 6th day of June 2019.
“An operator files an MOR after an occurrence to NCAA and not a notification to the Bureau as required by its Regulations.”
Air Peace responds: Air Peace was quick to respond claiming it lacks the understanding of how the several regulators operate. The Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, said the following:
“We always report any incident to NCAA and sometimes you may not know what to report to AIB because the NCAA is the regulatory authority and the Bureau is in charge of accident investigation.
“So when an incident like hard landing happens and you inform NCAA, we feel we have followed the procedure. Boeing has written back to us and has told us what to do, according to the procedure, currently, inspection is being carried out on the aircraft”