By Lawani Mikairu
lagos—Officials of Muritala Muhammed International Airport, MIAA, Lagos, have been accused of unprofessional conduct that almost botched delivery of Air Peace latest Boeing 777 to the airline.
Apparently displeased, foreign pilots that brought the plane were said to have left Nigeria immediately owing to the delay.
The aircraft, which was supposed to land at the MMIA, Lagos, by 3.pm from Dallas, United States, was prevented from landing 30 minutes to its arrival by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, over alleged ‘no parking space’ at Lagos airport.
Narrating what happened, an eye witness who does not want to be named by Vanguard, said: “The airport manager, Mrs. Victoria Shin-aba, who refused to come out to resolve the problem, asked the airline to go and park the aircraft at Enugu or Port Harcourt Airport and claimed that she was out of the office, even when she was sighted at the airport.”
Vanguard was reliably informed that it was under her instruction, FAAN’s Aviation Security (AVSEC) refused to allow journalists to go to the airside to cover the arrival of the aircraft until the head of communication of Air Peace, Chris Iwarah called the General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu who intervened.
According to airport officials, Air Peace did not notify FAAN in time about the arrival of the aircraft, but Air Peace confirmed that the aircraft was supposed to arrive three days earlier and the agency was aware about the delay and the subsequent arrival of the airplane that Wednesday.
After negotiations between FAAN and Air Peace, the airport officials asked the airline to land the aircraft at the cargo section of the airport instead of the terminal where commercial passengers flights land and park.
It took several hours of persuasion before the aircraft was allowed by the officials to be moved to the passenger terminal and by that time the captain of the flight and his co-pilot had spent two and half hours in the aircraft after it had landed.
The attitude of the airport officials could be better explained by the fact that FAAN had unofficially complained to journalists that Air Peace had earlier brought Boeing 777 and parked them at the airport, but Air Peace Spokesman, Iwarah told journalists “ that the agency was aware that the aircraft were being prepared for international operations and were going through procedures with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, before they would be inducted as part of Air Peace fleet so that they would be used for international service”.
Iwarah further said that the aircraft were not just parked there but were “used for demonstration flight for several hours in order to meet NCAA regulation for the airline to conduct international operations.”