By Miriam Humbe
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has underscored the need for additional scrutiny and precaution in the aviation sector in order to ensure safe operations and passenger satisfaction.
Director General of CPC, Babatunde Irukera made this point during the weekend following an emergency landing of Arik Air Flight W3304 at Kotoka International Airport, Accra (ACC), Ghana.
He disclosed that on Tuesday March 6, 2018, Arik Air Flight W3304 departed Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos (LOS) for Kotoka International Airport, Accra (ACC) at approximately 19:15hrs for a 55-minute flight; operated by a Dash8 Q400 turbo propeller aircraft.
“Close to arrival and approximately 81 miles from ACC, passengers reported smoke in the cabin of the aircraft. The captain confirmed that there was smoke in the cabin from an unknown source, but secured the operation of the aircraft. He declared an emergency and landed the aircraft in accordance with emergency landing procedures.
“All passengers and crew disembarked safely and ultimately received their baggage. CPC understands that Ghanaian aviation authorities have been notified and (in partnership with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authorities) are in charge of inquiring into, and investigating the incident. The aircraft has remained on ground in Accra accordingly” he further said.
Irukera acknowledged the efforts of the Sector regulator, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in this direction, insisting that these efforts should be reinforced to avoid incidents in the sector and to sustain consumer confidence.
“The CPC again encourages relevant aviation authorities to ensure full compliance with local and other applicable consumer protection laws, regulations and protocols particularly, but not limited to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations Part 19.
“Although there have been reported accidents in world aviation in recent times, and incidents in Nigeria, CPC understand that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is exercising additional scrutiny and precaution to continue to ensure safe operations and passenger satisfaction. CPC welcomes this assurance while underscoring the importance of such efforts to avoid incidents and sustain consumer confidence in the sector”, he said.
The Council’s director general also commended the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for its “unprecedented attention and action” in directing “a safety audit of a domestic airline involved in an incident”.
Irukera advised consumers to always “exercise their rights by demanding and insisting on appropriate services and providing timely information to relevant authorities in the event of irregularities.
“Once again, we are grateful all passengers are safe and demand that Arik deploy all necessary apparatus to ameliorate any inconvenience or anxiety passengers may have experienced,” he added.