Arik aircraft boss explains collision
Managing Director of Arik Air, Mr. Chris Ndulue, has spoken on the recent collision of two aircraft belonging to the airline at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of Muritala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), attributing the development to what he called poor marking on the ramp.
The incident occurred when one of the aircraft marked 5N-MJP, which was being marshalled out of the ramp for a scheduled flight, brushed another aircraft, 5N-MJQ, parked on the same ramp. Speaking with newsmen in Lagos, Ndulue said it is a miracle that such does not occur on a daily basis ‘‘because of the way aircraft are parked on the ramp’’.
Ndulue said: “You see, if you go to the GAT where these aircraft are parked, you would see that they are parked like cars. It is a miracle that this kind of wing-tip collision does not happen every week because the captains, the marshallers have to do a lot of work to squeeze out aircraft and put them back into that very constrained area of parking at GAT and it is not clearly marked.”
He urged the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to ensure proper marking at the airports to prevent further incidents.
Ndulue said, “The way out first is that FAAN needs to mark the airport properly. Number two is that we need to expand it. We have a little more space up there which we need to utilize. If there are aircraft that have become out of use, then we should find a burial ground for them not at the airport.”
He also called for the implementation of right policies to grow the industry from its present state. He said while the infrastructure challenges linger, the government should provide dedicated funding for the industry players to access, adding that a zero-digit funding window would help.
“We need to take steps that are important for us to get the industry to grow from infancy. We cannot be talking about countries that should be looking at us; we are now going back to look at them. Our aviation was far ahead of them 25 years ago. So, why are we lagging behind today? We must adopt the right policy. Infrastructure challenges are there. We have to address the infrastructure challenges. Secondly, how do we fund the industry? We are talking about technology and all that. If we don’t expect our airlines to go to the desert to pick up aeroplanes that have been lying there for five years and get it into the air in Nigeria, if we want them to buy aircraft just like other airlines do, then how do we fund it? Is it by borrowing at 24 per cent? We need to be able to fund it.