One of Nigeria’s major airlines, Aero Contractors, on Saturday used a ladder to disembark passengers when it operated a charter flight to Bauchi in Bauchi state.
Airlines normally use external or in-built gangway (staircase) to board passengers from certified or own ground handling companies.
The airline in a statement said a special charter flight operated by Aero to Bauchi had problems with unserviceable equipment by the airport management in dis-embarking about 34 passengers from Abuja.
“Consequently against the airline’s wish and operation safety guideline, the passengers used a ladder to disembark. However at the time of boarding the air stairs became functional and the passengers boarded successfully,” the statement said.
The airline said it took adequate and safety measures for this operation, including the airport’s ground staff crew to handle the air stairs equipment in Bauchi, but unfortunately it became unserviceable at the point of disembarkation.
“Although the airline crew tried to calm down the passengers to wait while the equipment was being fixed, the passengers insisted on their own volition to disembark against all safety protocol of the airline.
“Aero Contractors wishes to state that it is reviewing its safety measures with all charter operations to all airports to prevent such reoccurrence. Aero will continue to take adequate measures to ensure that its operations remain safe and secure,” Aero said.
But an industry source said the airline allowing passengers to use their own volition to leave the aircraft was a breach of security and negation of the rules because “passengers must obey the crew always. Airlines must be held liable for any breach.”