By ANTHONY AWUNOR, Lagos
A former head of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Angus Ozoka, has said that accident investigation was critical to the overall safety in flight operations because the industry depends on the recommendations made by the agency to prevent future accidents.
Ozoka, who hosted the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) team that audited the Nigerian aviation industry as pioneer commissioner/CEO of the Bureau in 2007, said that accident investigation was a painstaking work, which procedure and processes were not exposed to media propaganda.
The ex-AIB chief was reacting to the publications in the media titled: “Air Peace Concealed Major Aircraft Incidents from Us – AIB,” which was a press release by the Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau to the world, notifying the public that the airline did not report an incident to the Bureau but only reported to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and noted that such publication was unprecedented.
“After carefully reading the article and as a concerned Nigerian, I have the following observations and comments on the matter. The damage assessment by AIB did not reveal that an accident or serious incident occurred as hard landing does not equate to an accident or serious incident.
“According to AIB, the nature of the damage suggests a high probability of an accident but it is difficult to see how such a conclusion can be reached when a thorough investigation was not carried out. Accident investigation is a pain-staking research work, which follows a whole process involving the gathering and analysis of information, the drawing of conclusions after determination of cause(s), and making safety recommendations,” he said.
Ozoka, who was former rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria also noted that after the incident, the operating aircraft (B737-300 with registration 5N-BUK) was kept on ground awaiting hard landing inspection.
“The aircraft was not put back into operation and it is not operating at the moment and so; it is difficult to see what wrong Air Peace has committed. If, according to the airline, a Mandatory Occurrence Report (MOR) was filed with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in writing on May 17, 2019 after a notification was made on May 16, 2019 i.e. within two days of the incidents; the NCAA should confirm whether this assertion is true, and if so confirmed, Air Peace has done no wrong,” he explained.
On the reference made by AIB in its statement over an earlier incident involving the aircraft of the airline, he said, “With regard to Air Peace B737-300 with registration 5N-BUO, a malfunctioning Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) does not equate to an accident or serious incident and does not make an accident. Its primary purpose is to complement i.e. facilitate investigation, and so one is at a loss to see what “sin” the airline has committed.
“The assertion that Air Peace lacks full understanding of AIB’s statutory mandates, functions and procedures does not derive from any investigation with recommendations and such a conclusion can therefore not be reached,” Ozoka stated.
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