The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has declared the alleged and reported Runway 18R burglary attempt on the Cargo Hold of Air Peace Airline as unfounded.

According to the image maker of the regulatory body, Sam Adurogboye yesterday, this conclusion was arrived at after the Regulatory Authority reviewed all the reports from the relevant agencies concerning the incident and it was unproven.

Last Friday, there were reports that the Pilot-in-Command (PIC) of Air Peace Flight no. APK 7138 with Aircraft no. 5N-BUJ had alerted the Lagos Control Tower that the Aircraft’s Cargo Compartment has been opened.

According to the Pilot in his report to the Tower, he noticed that the Cargo Compartment light came up for 15 seconds and went off meaning that someone has opened the compartment’s door.

“The Air Traffic Controller on duty confirmed receiving the report at about 1933hrs (1833GMT).

In line with Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs), Aviation Security personnel were at the Holding Point of Runway 18R monitoring the departure/take off of both Air Peace and Arik Air aircraft.

“The PIC alarm triggered an immediate response. The Escort team overtook the Arik aircraft for a more proximate field look and access to the Air Peace Aircraft.

On full speed, with the full lights on, no person(s) was found within the vicinity of the aircraft. Importantly, the Arik aircraft which was on queue immediately after the Air Peace aircraft was similarly put on observation at this point.

“The Arik Air aircraft also had its full complement of lights on towards the Air Peace aircraft having being aware of his counterpart’s conversation with the Tower, with the benefit of this full view, neither movement nor any sign of person(s) was sighted around the aircraft.

Thereafter the Air Peace PIC requested to taxi back to the Apron at D45 to check if anything had been stolen. In addition, he wanted to clear his doubts that a bomb may have been thrown into the aircraft.

“At D45, the Airport Chief Security called the NPF-EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) team who reported with their equipment at about 2026hrs.

Passengers were disembarked at 2028hrs. The EOD team joined by FAAN’s Aviation Security and Air Peace Security conducted a search on the Cargo compartment and the passenger cabin of the aircraft. The search was completed at about 2055hrs and the aircraft was declared safe by the EOD Team leader.

“The Air Peace Pilot in Command, therefore, briefed the passengers of the EOD’s all clear decision and that the service shall be operated. All passengers re-boarded and the aircraft was escorted to the holding area for takeoff by the Escort teams from FAAN AVSEC and the Military Airside Patrol. The flight departed and landed safely at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

“Therefore, against this background, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) came to the conclusion that the Runway 18R burglary report is unproven, largely unsubstantiated and therefore should be discountenanced. All stakeholders should be informed that all aviation agencies are well motivated and prepared to carry out their responsibilities perfunctorily at all times.”

The management of Air Peace last Friday declared that some thieves attempted to burgle the plane through its cargo hold at the Lagos airport.

According to the image maker of the airline, Chris Iwarah; “Pilot-in-Command, Captain Adesola Arasi had to contact control tower when he was alerted by the light that came on in the cockpit suggesting that the cargo hold was opened for about 15 seconds and immediately shut.

“In line with ou high-security standards and the huge value we place on the lives of our guests and crew, Captain Arasi insisted on having the Explosive Ordinance Disposal squad check Flight APK 7138 before takeoff to be doubly sure nothing was deposited in the cargo hold by the suspected thieves to endanger the lives of our guests and crew”.

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