FOLLOWING the controversy that greeted last week’s incident involving an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777-300 aircraft which aborted landing at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, key players in the sector have continued to describe the action taken by the pilot of the aircraft as normal precautionary safety measures.
According to a former Military Commandant at the Lagos airport, Group Captain John Ojikitu (retired), the incident should not have generated the panic that came from it.
For Ojikutu, though the long delay in the landing of the aircraft could have caused apprehensions or panics to the passengers on board, but declared that the crew and the air traffic control had everything under their control.
His words: “I don’t think it was something to panic about. The weather must have been inclement in strong wind possibly with land squall and wind sheers. The pilot must have read it correctly or given to them correctly and they decided to hold on or remain in the holding until the weather subsided before landing. The long delay in the landing could however caused apprehensions or panics to the passengers but I think the crew and the ATS had everything under their control.”
In the same vein, the managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Hamisu Yadudu has also said that the last week aborted landing of the ET aircraft was a normal safety procedure in the global aviation industry.
Yadudu,in an interview with aviation journalists in Lagos, insisted that the decision of the pilot to abort the first landing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos was industry standard.
He said that pilots were encouraged to go for a go-around if the situation called for it, stressing that inasmuch as the aircraft had enough fuel in its belly, it doesn’t affect safety.
Accroding to him, pilots were tutored on go-around in the cause of their training, insisting that it was not an abnormal situation and expressed surprise at the controversies the news generated in the media especially in social media.
“A go-around is a normal procedure, not an abnormal situation. Even, abnormal situations are even catred for by the aircraft manufacturers and even the system. In all procedures, you have redundancy, which is also known as alternatives.
“I remember I did a go-around twice in one of our airports. As long as you have enough fuel in your aircraft, you can do a go-around. It is also part of the training we go through. In the cause of your training, you can do a go-around about five or seven times in a flight. Flying is a serious business. We have a duty to report accurately about the industry. Whatever is reported here, goes viral. So, everyone has the duty to report accurately and objectively about the industry.”
Ethiopian Airline had earlier through its General Manager, in Nigeria, Firihiewot Mekonnen said that that the flight ET 901, which departed from Addis Ababa on its way to Lagos encountered bad weather during landing and made a go-around the airport for better and smooth landing saying that aborting the flight was in tandem with standard procedure.