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Nigerian Safety Bureau Commences Investigation Into Abuja Runway Incursion Involving Aero Contractors

“We apologise for the inconveniences caused to our customers and other airport users,” said the airline’s MD Ado Sanusi.

The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) said it has commenced investigation into an incident of runway incursion involving a Boeing B737 with nationality and registration marks 5N-BYQ belonging to Aero Contractors airlines.

Aero Contractors said the aircraft operated Flight NG 119 from Lagos to Abuja and had a total of 133 passengers on board and everyone was safely evacuated, and nobody was hurt.

However, according to a statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, NSIB, Dr. James Odaudu, the incident occurred at about 10:47am (Local Time) on November 12, 2023.

The statement explained that the aircraft upon landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja from Lagos and in a bid to exit the runway via A4 had its nose wheel stuck in the grass verge with its fuselage on the runway.

The runway was closed temporarily until the aircraft was removed from the runway a few hours later and flights resumed.

However, THISDAY learnt from inside sources that on landing, the pilot in command of the flight reported losing the aircraft steering and out of the four exits off the runway, two were under maintenance, while the first was where aircraft about to take off entered the runway.

So, the pilot inevitably had to use the last exit from the runway to the taxiway, where the aircraft nose wheel got stuck.

But Aero Contractors in a statement said it was cooperating with relevant agencies carrying out instigation on the cause of the incident.

“Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest aviation company is cooperating with the relevant agencies following a runway incursion at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. All passengers were safely evacuated through a controlled disembarkation.

“Flight NG 119 with a registered Boeing 737 aircraft 5N-BYQ from Lagos to Abuja had a total of 133 passengers on board,” it stated.

The Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi further said: “We apologise for the inconveniences caused to our customers and other airport users. Our team with the assistance of the airport management has already towed the aircraft from the taxiway.

“We are equally cooperating with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the National Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) as they carry out their investigations. Our mantra in Aero Contractors is safety, and our long history is a testimony to this.”

Spokesman of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Abdullahi Yakubu Funtua confirmed that the aircraft was removed by 2:00 pm a few hours after it got stuck and it was the Nigeria Air Force that brought the equipment that was used to remove it.

Flights resumed thereafter.

Chinedu Eze and Kasim Sumaina in Abuja