Abuja passengers kick as NCAA stops departing plane for inspection - PUNCH
BY Okechukwu Nnodim
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority on Tuesday stopped flight VM1609 of MaxAir, to carry out a safety inspection on the airplane after it had boarded passengers and was already taxiing for take-off. It was learnt that the passengers of the flight, which was leaving the Abuja airport for Lagos, kicked against the delay caused by the move by the NCAA.
Some of the travellers reportedly complained of being stranded in the aircraft, as they alleged that the flight was stopped due to technical issues.
A passenger, who simply gave his name as Raymond, said the 11.30am flight had moved some distance on the tarmac preparatory for take-off before it was eventually turned back to the hangar and parked.
When contacted to explain what actually happened, the Station Manager for MaxAir at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Kehinde Ogunyale, said the aircraft had to follow the rules of the aviation industry regulator-NCAA.
“It was just a delay on the flight, nothing like stranded passengers please, and it is because we were told that the NCAA wanted to do an inspection. That was it,” he told our correspondent.
Ogunyale added, “So the delay came because we were waiting for the NCAA to do the inspection. There is nothing like stranded passengers on our flight.
“The aircraft was ready to take off and they said they wanted to do an inspection on the flight. So the time spent had to do with waiting for the NCAA officials to do the inspection.
“After the inspection, the flight was meant to take off and as I am talking to you now I’ve just got information that the plane is now taxiing for take-off.”
It was learnt that the flight finally took off around 2pm after the civil aviation authority had completed the safety inspection on the aircraft.
Although the spokesperson for NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, stated that he had yet to be briefed on the MaxAir incident in Abuja when contacted, he explained that it was a standard practice to inspect an aircraft, especially whenever a pilot raised a concern.
“The pilot might have noticed an issue and might have called the NCAA to inspect the plane. So it is a standard practice to carry out such inspection before clearing the aircraft for takeoff,” he stated.