Arik Air Mishap: Customer, Management Tell Conflicting Tales

Arik Air Mishap: Conflicting Tales Of Customer And ManagementBy Kenneth Jukpor

The management of Arik Air has reacted and condemned the social media stories claiming that Arik Air operations are unsafe following an incident last week by a customer.

According to the incident referred to by the author, Arik Air plane managed by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) endangered lives of passengers in a return trip from Abuja to Benin.

The aggrieved passenger’s account, “On the 7th of March 2021, I boarded an ArIk fight from Abuja to Benin. The flight was 5.50pm from Benin. The take off from Benin Airport was traumatic and clearly indicative that the plane was not in order.”

“We, however, managed to land at Abuja Airport after 1 hour 15 mins. I was to return back to Benin on the 8the March 2021 at 4.15 pm with same aircraft. After an hour delay, we managed to take off. 15 minutes into the flight, there was an announcement from the pilot that the flight couldn’t continue. The reason given was that there is an opening somewhere may be a door and the plane was to return back to Abuja before any disaster.”

“One hour after the announcement, the plane was still hovering around and could not land. The pilot explained that he had to burn out fuel before landing. At this time, those praying have ceased. Those wailing have become quiet too. Suddenly, the pilot announced that he was about to land. He assured us that fire brigade was fully mobilised on ground as well as NEMA. Tension increased once more inside the aircraft. Prayers started once more. However, we managed to land at the Abuja Airport.”

Accordance to him, two passengers confirmed that they had two previous experiences with the same aircraft, while another narrated how one of the aircraft engine had failed to start in an aborted Lagos – Abuja flight.

“I have not recovered from the trauma. I am told that the particular aircraft is still flying. It appears that AMCON the new managers of Arik Air is only interested in recouping the debt owed by Arik Air which they have purchased from the banks. And in doing that, passengers lives don’t matter.”

“This is a warning to all air travelers. ARIK AIR IS A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN UNLESS URGENT STEPS ARE TAKEN TO GROUND THEIR AIRCRAFTS WHICH ARE NO LONGER SERVICEABLE,” the Benin based legal practitioner, R. O lsenalumhe Esq said.

In a response, the Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air, Captain Roy Ilegbodu accused the customer of libel and lacking aviation expertise.

“For the records, the actions taken by the crew of the flight were strictly precautionary as the Pilot-in-Command of the aircraft took the necessary safety measures by returning the aircraft to land as they have been well trained to do in line with standard practice, after observing a cautionary indication light in the cockpit. Our aircraft are modern, next generation aircraft equipped with redundancies and annunciators that enhance safe operations in all stages of flight,” the airline operator said.

According to him, Arik Air in line with standard practice and being a responsible corporate organization notified the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), who subsequently checked, certified and returned to service the aircraft after all mandatory reports and processes had been fulfilled in accordance with global safety standards.

“It is unfortunate that one R. Isenalumhe, a trained lawyer who raised the alarm displayed an unprofessional approach to this issue as he is not an expert to declare an aircraft unsafe. We had expected him to go the extra mile to investigate and ask probing questions from professionals in the industry or refer the incident to the appropriate regulatory body, the NCAA, if he felt so concerned about air safety. We wonder what his motive may be and Arik reserves the right to take action on this libelous and unprofessional conduct.”

“Arik Air as an organization goes over and above safety standards in all facets of our operations. This is clearly evident in our over 14 years of operating as an airline. Safety is our cardinal policy and we will never operate an aircraft that is unsafe. We seize this opportunity to assure our esteemed customers of our unflinching commitment to safety which can never be compromised.”

“Arik has not made any repayments to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on its pre-receivership debt as claimed by Mr. Isenalumhe. Neither has AMCON put any undue pressure on Arik for repayments at the detriment of operation. Instead, AMCON had provided funds and all forms of support to assist the airline in its operations,” the Airline boss said.

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