Nigeria was spared another air mishap yesterday. An Aero Contractors Boeing 737-500 plane lost a tyre as it landed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos.
The plane, with registration number 5N-BLC, was travelling from Abuja. It had on board 104 passengers and crew members, including a former Minister of Federation Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. It, however, landed successfully.
The Accident Investigation Prevention Bureau (AIPB) has commenced investigation.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) confirmed the incident in a statement. Its spokesman, Yakubu Dati, said: “A Boeing 737-500 with Registration No 5N-BLC, operated by Aero Contractors landed safely at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, following a loss of pressure in one of the tyres, today (yesterday) December 29, 2013.
“The aircraft, which landed at 10.50am, had a total of 104 passengers and crew members on board.
“The aircraft has since been towed to the apron and the 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.”
The airliner, through its public relations consultant, SY&T PR, said it regretted “the emotional stress the incident caused its passengers who were on board the aircraft”.
An online statement by the firm said:” Aero regrets the emotional stress caused to our passengers by the puncture of tyre on landing of flight AJ122 from Abuja to Lagos this morning. All passengers on that flight have been contacted via email and SMS to express our regret on the incident.
“Aero Contractors has been in operation for over 54 years with an exemplary safety record. Aero has the utmost confidence in all our team members who are professionally trained to handle emergency situations.
“We are proud at the efficient and excellent manner which all our team members handled this incident, which has been attested to by some passengers on board flight AJ 122.”
El-Rufai, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who travelled to Lagos on a visit to his confidant, Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, tweeted about the incident. He wrote: “Upon landing in Lagos, our Aero aircraft lost a tyre. The pilot did a great job of coming to a halt suitably. My phones flew under seats. It was amusing hearing shouts of Allah Akbar and Jesus, Jesus, while the dutiful captain was trying to slow the plane down to a safe location.”
He praised the Aero crew for a professional job: “ One of the passengers joked that he knew nothing would happen to us as I was onboard; nice of him, but Allah decides our fate in His way. The Aero pilot was good, the cabin staff calm and professional amid the mild drama and little panic by a few passengers. We Thank God,” he wrote.