Arik Air has reiterated its commitment to safety in all its operations, insisting that all its planes are in very good condition.
Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, disclosed this in a statement in Lagos on Sunday.
The carrier was reacting to a story published on social media, claiming that Arik Air operations are unsafe following an incident that occurred on March 8, 2021.
A Benin-based legal practitioner, R.O. Isenalumhe, had alleged that an Arik Air aircraft he travelled with on March 7, 2021, from Abuja to Benin was unsafe, an account which the airline has disputed, saying that the lawyer travelled on March 8.
According to the legal practitioner, “The flight was 5.50 pm from Benin. The take-off from Benin Airport was traumatic and clearly indicative that the plane was not in order.
“We, however, managed to land at Abuja Airport after 1 hour 15 mins. I was to return to Benin on the 8th March 2021 at 4.15 pm with the same aircraft.
“After an hour delay, we managed to take off. But 15 minutes into the flight, there was an announcement from the pilot that the flight cannot continue. The reason given was that there is an opening somewhere maybe a door.”
Refuting the lawyer’s claim, Ilegbodu stated that “Our attention has been drawn to stories published on the social media claiming that Arik Air operations are unsafe following an incident last week.
“The incident referred to by the author of the article occurred in Abuja on the 8th of March, 2021.
“For the records, the actions taken by the crew of the flight were strictly precautionary as the Pilot-in-Command of the aircraft took the necessary safety measures by returning the aircraft to land as they have been well trained to do in line with standard practice, after observing a cautionary indication light in the cockpit.
“Our aircraft are modern, next-generation aircraft equipped with redundancies and annunciators that enhance safe operations in all stages of flight.
“Arik Air, in line with standard practice and being a responsible corporate organisation, notified the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which subsequently checked, certified and returned the aircraft to service after all mandatory reports and processes had been fulfilled in accordance with global safety standards.
“It is unfortunate that one R. Isenalumhe, a trained lawyer who raised the alarm, displayed an unprofessional approach to this issue as he is not an expert to declare an aircraft unsafe.
“We had expected him to go the extra mile to investigate and ask questions from professionals in the industry or refer the incident to the appropriate regulatory body, the NCAA if he felt so concerned about air safety.
“We wonder what his motive may be and Arik reserves the right to take action on this libelous and unprofessional conduct.
“Arik Air as an organisation goes over and above safety standards in all facets of our operations. This is clearly evident in our over 14 years of operating as an airline.
“Safety is our cardinal policy and we will never operate an aircraft that is unsafe. We seize this opportunity to assure our esteemed customers of our unflinching commitment to safety which can never be compromised”.
“Arik has not made any repayments to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on its pre-receivership debt as claimed by Mr. Isenalumhe. Neither has AMCON put any undue pressure on Arik for repayments at the detriment of operation.
“Instead, AMCON had provided funds and all forms of support to assist the airline in its operations,” he added.