Delta Airline has apologised to the Accident Investigation Bureau over the airline’s failure to notify the agency on emergency landing of its Airbus 330-200 aircraft on Tuesday night.

A statement issued by the General Manager, Public Affairs, AIB, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, in Lagos on Thursday, said the apology letter was signed by Miss Shannon Masters, Delta Airline Manager, Air Safety Investigation.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Delta Airline flight 55 from Lagos to Atlanta, which took off around 10.50 p.m on Tuesday, made an air return less than an hour later due to an engine problem.

The Pilot-in-Command announced the evacuation of all the passengers on board within 90 seconds, after contacting the Control Towers because the left engine of the aircraft was said to have caught fire mid-air.

However, Masters, who led a team of the airline officials, including the technical crew of the flight, and the airlines Lagos Airport Station Manager to the AIB, expressed the airline’s regret for the oversight, adding that it was not intentional.

“We sincerely apologise for the error and we promise to cooperate with AIB in the investigation of this occurrence.”

The Commissioner of AIB, Mr. Akin Olateru, while accepting Delta’s apology, said AIB had already commenced investigation into the serious incident and welcomed the airline’s cooperation.

“We look forward to receiving cooperation from Delta Airline as we work to determine the cause of this serious incident in the interest of safety.’’

NAN reports that AIB had frowned at the American carrier’s failure to notify it of the incident involving its aircraft in line with Nigerian air safety regulations and international practice.

The airline was believed to have notified the United States National Transportation Safety Board of the occurrence immediately, in line with the U.S. laws.

Nigeria, as the state of occurrence under the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Annex 13, is responsible for investigating any aircraft occurrences within her airspace.

The State of registry of the aircraft and the airline may serve as observers.

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