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Air Peace on Monday said it recently renewed the Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A) of its aircraft involved on the Dec. 14 Lagos-Enugu flight incident.

A statement issued by the airline’s Corporate Communications Manager, Mr Chris Iwarah on Monday, said the aircraft had also recently undergone its mandatory C-checks abroad.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the aircraft experienced a change in cabin pressure en-route to Enugu from Lagos which resulted in panic by some of the passengers.

However, Iwarah dismissed reports alleging that the aircraft almost crashed, describing the claims as an unfortunate misrepresentation of facts.

He said the airline’s flight crew had to do the normal technical maneuver by descending to a level comfortable enough for passengers on board.

“On Dec. 14, our Lagos-Enugu flight experienced a change in cabin pressure. When there is a change in cabin pressure, the oxygen masks will automatically drop from the panel for use by passengers on board the aircraft.

“During safety briefings, passengers are advised to pull on the masks to trigger the flow of oxygen.

“The flow of oxygen is expected to last about 12 minutes within which the flight crew would descend to a comfortable altitude (usually below 10000 feet above sea level).

“Change in cabin pressure is a common occurrence in aviation across the world, including the UK and America. Once there was a change in cabin pressure, the oxygen masks on the aircraft automatically drops.

“And in line with standard safety procedure, our flight crew performed a technical maneuver by descending to a level comfortable enough for passengers on board.

“We, however, observed cases of some passengers who did not properly fit their oxygen masks. A few others perhaps out of panic, pulled too hard on the oxygen masks, causing the equipment to snap.’’

Iwarah said this led to the unfortunate claims that there was no flow of oxygen from the masks.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the oxygen generators are part of the items of interest during C-checks. So, it could not have been right that there was no flow of oxygen.

“While it is quite expected and understandable that passengers would panic on occurrence of incidents such as a change in cabin pressure, the claims of a near-crash were a regrettable misrepresentation of facts which really should not be.

“The aircraft was ferried from Enugu back to Lagos in less than an hour of safely landing at destination. Certainly, no crew would fly an aircraft that is not airworthy.

“The aircraft involved in the incident had its certificate of airworthiness renewed on Dec. 10.

“The aircraft also went for its mandatory comprehensive maintenance checks (C-checks) abroad and got its certificate of release to service (CRS) in September 2017,’’ he added.

According to Iwarah, C-checks are usually done on aircraft every 18 months and at the end of the checks, a CRS is issued as evidence of the maintenance done.

“In line with our strict maintenance and safety standards, we retain the services of BCT Aviation of the United Kingdom for our routine maintenance programme on ground our base in Lagos 24 hours of the day throughout the year.

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused our loyal customers as a result of the incident and wish to reassure them that we place huge premium on the lives of our esteemed guests and crew.

“We will never do anything to put them in harm’s way. We have had four years of accident-free flight operations and we are very determined to sustain our reputation and record.

“We thank members of the public for their generous show of love and trust in us to continue to deliver exceptional, safe and comfortable flight services to them,” he said.

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