BY LAWANI MIKAIRU
LAGOS — A Boeing 737 plane with over 100 passengers belonging to Aero Contractors had a tyre blow-out, yesterday, at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, MMA, Lagos.
The aircraft, which departed the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, NAA, Abuja around 9a.m. had the blow-out on landing at the Lagos Airport.
One of the over 100 passengers on board the plane was the former Minister, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai who tweeted that, “Upon landing in Lagos, our Aero aircraft lost a tyre. The pilot did a great job of breaking to a halt. My phones flew under seats.”
Reacting to the incident, Mr. Yakubu Dati, coordinating spokesman, Aviation Parastatals said: “An aircraft – Boeing 737-500 with Registration No. 5N-BLC, operated by Aero Contractors landed safely at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, following loss of pressure in one of the tyres, today ( yesterday) December 29, 2013.”
“The aircraft which landed at 10.50a.m. had a total of 104 passengers and crew members on board.
The aircraft has since been towed to the apron, and Accident Investigation Prevention Bureau, AIPB has commenced investigation into the incident.
“We wish to assure all air travellers of their safety and caution against magnifying a manageable incident out of proportion.”
One of the directors of the airline who does not want his name mentioned, was quoted to have confirmed the incident. But he added that the burst tyre had been replaced immediately by the engineers of the airline.
He explained that the airline was currently waiting for the approval of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, for the aircraft to return to operations, but insisted that it was a minor incident, which is normal in aircraft operations.
It will be recalled that there has been speculation that the Federal government is considering making Aero Contractors a national carrier. The Federal Government, through AMCON, owns 60 per cent shares of the airline. The name of the airline is to be changed to Nigerian Eagle.