In the last one month, the country’s aviation sector has recorded two cases of two airlines experiencing tyre burst on the runway at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport.
While the first aircraft had a burst tyre on landing, the second aircraft belonging to another airline suffered the same fate but this time around while the plane was taxiing.
Without doubt these two incidents are not palatable to a sector that already has myriad of troubles with the case of insecurity being on the front burner in view of the kidnap of eleven airport workers at the Kaduna airport and another foiled kidnap attempt at the same airport.
While the issue of aircraft experiencing burst tyre is one of the usual phenomenon in aviation, hence, not peculiar to Nigeria, the controversy generated by the two aircraft tyre bursts incidents in the country may not be unconnected to the sad story of how the runway assigned to domestic night flight operations lacked airfield lighting components for twelve years.
The dangerous situation continued for such a long time and the federal government with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as the safety regulator and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as the manager of the airports decided to ignore the safety component meant to aid domestic night flight operations.
Agreed that it could be argued that the burst tyre experience could have occurred even on the domestic runway with airfield lighting installed, but the suspense and frenzy it created would have been minimal as witnessed in the barrage of criticisms and usurpation of functions by the various commenters.
As expected, aviation being an elitist environment consisting of internationally trained professionals in aviation related matters, commenting on issues such as burst tyres, incidents or accidents must always occur.
However, in making such statements or carrying out a critique on such situations, there is the need for the professionals to do it with serious caution in order not to interfere in the functions of the statutory agencies saddled with the responsibility of handling such a situation.
Taking precautions when incidents or accidents occur becomes pertinent as it will give room for the responsible agency like the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) or the NCAA to carry out investigations on the cause of whatever happened which will still be made public.
Therefore, it becomes very unfortunate the kind of comments the so called professionals spew out whenever incidents or accidents occur with many of them jumping into conclusion to predict the cause of such.
This was what transpired in the latest incidents of burst tyre with some even suggesting that one of the airlines’ tyre was not in good order before embarking on flight.
The questions that should be asked include: why an operator will allow an aircraft that is not in order fly human beings that will eventually get them killed. Except that operator is an agent of Satan which is not possible because Nigerian airline operators are known to be resilient and passionate about the business.
While there are obvious facts that the operators have their own limitations, the fact is that no one will deliberately encourage incidents or accidents knowing both the credibility and financial consequences of such.
Running commentaries during emergency situations should be reduced to the barest minimum. While people have the rights to air their views on operational issues, in doing that, people should ensure such comments do not pollute the functions of the relevant bodies.
Above all, there is the need to stop passing judgement in times of incidents or accidents but wait for those saddled with the responsibility of investigating such to complete their job and reveal their findings.
Making unguarded statements will not only scare the public away from air transport, but put a question mark on the credibility of the country’s aviation safety.
Above all, it is hoped that the NCAA in particular will see all this drama as a wake up call for it to be more alive to its responsibility in the area of beaming searchlight through carrying out regular safety audit checks on the airlines.
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