Air Peace alleges sabotage as NAHCO equipment rams into aircraft at Lagos airport


… ground handler denies allegations


Posted by Sade Williams


An equipment of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc on Wednesday rammed into an aircraft belonging to Air Peace at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, thereby disrupting its flight operations.

This was the third time in one month that NAHCO equipment would be damaging aircraft of Air Peace, a source close to the airside said.

Also, Air Peace said it is is suspecting sabotage against its operations by some unscrupulous elements in the industry and called on the relevant authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into the incessant damage to its equipment by the staff of the handling company.

A source close to the place of the incident gave the registration said 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, before the incident occurred, the aircraft was scheduled to ferry passengers from Lagos to Owerri for a 7a.m flight, while the same airplane was positioned for about 10 flights on the day of the incident.

When contacted, Mr. Stanley Olisa, the Spokesman, Air Peace, confirmed the incident to our correspondent on phone.

Olisa confirmed that the incident occurred in the morning when 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.”

Besides, Dr. Sola Obabori, Group Executive Director, Business and Corporate Services (GED), NAHCO, confirmed the incident.

He, however, ruled out any form of sabotage from any staff of the handling company, describing 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.

He emphasised that the handling company would investigate the incident, stressing that its management would discuss with Air Peace management on it.

Olabori told our correspondent that the handling company had filed a report on the incident, adding that the company had commenced an engagement with the airline on the incident.

He said: “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.”