May 12, 2021

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AIB urges NAMA, FAAN, on prompt dispatch of NOTAM; NCAA, closer oversight of foreign-registered airlines

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LEFT: Engr. Akin Olateru, AIB Commissioner, Capt. Musa Nuhu, DG, NCAA

Management of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, has been advised to ensure at all times that, the light at any displaced portion of the runway be switched off not to mislead aircraft intending to land. The aerodrome manager has also been told to always ensure runway obstructions and displaced thresholds are marked and the current condition is promptly communicated through NOTAM to concerned stakeholders.

These were excerpts from the recommendations of Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, on the accident of 4th December 2013, involving a Boeing 747-200 with registration marks EK-74798, and operated by Veteran Avia airlines ltd., which occurred at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Consequent upon the findings by the investigator, AIB, the bureau also recommended to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, to as a matter of compulsion ensure that all essential information is captured and are promptly dispatched through its Automatic Terminal Information Service, ATIS, and dispatch to stakeholders.

The investigators found out that by some degree of negligence on the part of aerodrome managers, the Pilot in Command was misled to wrongly believe the full length of the runway was for him when in actual fact, part of the runway was obstructed and repair work was ongoing as construction equipment were neatly tucked away in some parts of the runway but without any advance communication to pilots who were to make use of the facility.

Other culprits for the accident of Saudia 6814 (SVA6814), aircraft which departed Jeddah, OEJNwas poor communication between the control tower and the cockpit.

According to AIB, the crew reported in an interrogation that, the Tower said something about runway length in a garbled manner, which none of the crew could understand. The Pilot Monitoring, PM and the Flight Engineer (FE) in their respective statements mentioned that the Captain rechecked the approach chart before landing.

AIB said during the landing roll, control tower, TWR, called the aircraft to “Hold-short Hold-short.” The aircraft turned to the right to avoid the displaced threshold via exit A3, the aircraft veered off to the left of the exit and impacted some construction equipment parked on the side of the Runway.

Hence the investigator isolated the following five critical points as a contributive factor to that accident though all six crew members exited the aircraft safely, unhurt.

The bureau identified the following factors among others, as contributed to the accident. Lack of briefing by Saudia dispatcher during pre-flight. It discovered that the Runway status was missing from Abuja ATIS information.

Other contributive factor AIB described as ineffective communication between crew and ATC on short finals, the runway markings and lighting not depicting the displaced threshold and the entire runway lightings were ON beyond the displaced threshold. 

On another report of an accident which occurred 24th May 2011, at Bararakallahu village, near old Kaduna military airport, which involved a Beechcraft C90, with registration marks, N364UZ, owned and operated by Shoreline Energy Int’l td., the accident got all the two occupants fatally injured.

According to AIB records, the aircraft departed Old Kaduna (Military) airport on a test flight with a pilot and another person on board, with three hours’ endurance on a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan.

At 11:59 h, the aircraft crashed on a farm-land of about 878 meters short of RWY 23 (military) and engulfed into flames. The two occupants were fatally injured.

AIB report identified the inability of the pilot to control the aircraft to landing due to inadequate power to enable the pilot to maintain the appropriate approach profile (height, speed and glide path) to cover the required distance to the threshold, among the factors for the crash.

The bureau identified the following four points as contributory factors for the crash. It stated “Non-adherence to approved storage procedure, Non-adherence to approved return from storage procedure and the inadequate regulatory oversight by the authority on flight operation and maintenance of foreign registered aircraft in Nigeria.

The investigator however made a very strong appeal in its safety recommendations that, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, should increase safety oversight on foreign-registered general aviation aircraft operating in Nigerian airspace. 

It also recommended that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, should promulgate detailed regulations/requirements on private category aircraft operations.

It also urged that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, should liaise with the Old Kaduna (Military) Airport authorities to ensure that 1000 m beyond RWY 23 should be easily accessible in accordance with internationally accepted standard stipulated in ICAO Annex 14.

Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, should liaise with the Old Kaduna (Military) Airport authorities to ensure that an Airport Emergency Plan (AEP) is developed and maintained in line with Nig.CARs Part 12 (Aerodrome Regulations).

Other reports released are, report on the Accident involving a Tampico TB-9 aircraft owned and operated by Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) with nationality and registration marks 5N-CBJ, which occurred at Zaria Aerodrome, Kaduna State on 26th September 2018.

And the report on the accident involving a Boeing 737-282 aircraft owned and operated by Chanchangi Airlines Ltd with nationality and registration marks 5N-BIG, which occurred at Port Harcourt International Airport on 14th July 2008.

All these and many others could be read for free at www.aib.gov.ng

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