Specialists decry ‘poor’ response to Overland aircraft fire incident

NCAA lifts ban on training at aviation college
Experts in the aviation industry have decried the response of Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (ARFFS) team to a recent fire incident involving Overland Airways aircraft, describing it as poor and unbefitting of a modern airport.

The incident, which was captured on video clips, showed poor response time by emergency handlers, inadequate water supply and unconventional fire fighting approach that ensured the aircraft was razed.

An Overland Airways turboprop aircraft was gutted by fire at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos at the weekend, with substantial damage to the airplane, although no casualty was recorded. The aircraft, with registration number 5N BPE, was being powered by the Ground Power Unit at the airlines’ hanger during a routine maintenance when it caught fire.

An eyewitness at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) told The Guardian that the aircraft burnt for up to 30 minutes. Voices in the video clips that captured the incident also lamented the firefighters’ poor response, as they had to combat water shortage until another fire truck arrived the scene.

Aviation Security Consultant, Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd.) described the manner in which the airport’s emergency management programme services handled the incident as careless. FAAN, however, commended the ARFFS for putting out a fire that almost consumed an aircraft belonging to Overland Air and saving the airport from a major fire disaster.

General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, in a statement, said the incident was prevented from spreading to other aircraft and facilities. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has lifted the suspension on Ilorin International Aviation College’s Approved Training Organisation (ATO) certificate.

The partial suspension resulted from the closure on a number of findings and commitment in closing the remaining findings, as verified during the college’s recent re-certification audit.Spokesperson of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said the partial lifting of training programmes at the aviation college, is only applicable to the Fixed Wing Pilot (Aeroplane) and Flight Dispatchers Courses.

“The College is, therefore, directed to take necessary steps to close all open items after which the authority would carry out another round of re-certification exercise for a lifting or otherwise,” he said.

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