Arik air­craft boss ex­plains col­li­sion

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu, Lagos

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.

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