These are certainly not the best of times for the Board and Management of Air Peace as barely 24 hours after two of its aircraft were grounded, the fast-growing airline suffered another blow today as another aircraft was today grounded in Benin Airport.
Air Peace had operated the aircraft no. 4P7170 from Lagos to Benin City and was scheduled to airlift the passengers checked in on the Benin – Abuja flight 4P7171 when trouble struck.
The truck pulling the stairs for the passengers to disembark was trying to navigate the space available to make a u-turn when it hit the wing of the aircraft damaging a part of it and one if the antennas.
National Daily further gathered that although the ground staff of the airline were frantic in their efforts to convince the Captain to continue with the flight to Abuja claiming that the damaged antenna was of no significance to the ability of the aircraft to make the trip safely, staff of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) insisted that only technical experts could give such clearance.
The flight which was billed for 11.25am was delayed for an initial 45 minutes before it was later cancelled and rescheduled for tomorrow 10am.
National Daily investigation revealed that the NCAA staff immediately escalated the incident to the aviation industry regulator’s Head Office in Lagos where the Director-General was also briefed.
Two hours after a closed door meeting with representatives of the Air Peace airline, the DG directed that engineers from the airline must attend to the affected aircraft with a subsequent certification by Safety Inspectors from the NCAA who will only be dispatched to Benin Airport once the Airline Engineers complete their work, eyewitnesses told National Daily.
How long this will take could not be established as at the time of filing this report.
The about 100 passengers expressed disappointment over the incident but had limited options as they were to either to be rescheduled to depart 10am tomorrow or get a refund.