An Arik Air’s Boeing 737-700 aircraft marked 5N MJI and a Nigerian Air Force C-130 (NAF 917) aircraft were involved in an incident on the tarmac of Yakubu Gowon Airport, Heipang, Jos on Saturday, July 14, 2012.
A statement by the airline’s Media Officer, Mr. Banji Ola, said Arik Air aircraft on a scheduled flight from Jos to Lagos brushed the wing of the parked NAF aircraft while taxing causing minor damages to the wings of both aircraft.
According to the statement, the tank 1 wing tip of the NAF C-130 as well as the left winglet of the Arik Air’s Boeing 737-700 Next Generation (NG) aircraft were damaged.
The airline claimed that contrary to reports in the media, the incident did not lead to the gushing out of fuel from the damaged area of the Boeing 737-700 as the aircraft’s tanks are well protected.
The carrier said its officials comprising the Chairman, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide; Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue; the Chief Pilot, Captain Adetokunbo Adekunbi, and Safety Manager, Captain Jide Bakare were in Jos on Sunday to assess the damage caused by the incident.
According to the airline, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority was also in the team that visited Jos on Sunday.
The statement quoted Arik Air Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue, as saying the incident was blown out of proportion by a section of the Nigerian media for some ulterior motives.
He blamed the incident partly on the apron markings of the airport which had not been done to suit modern aircraft’s wing-span.
“The markings on the tarmac of the Jos Airport are old markings which did not take into cognizance the use of bigger aircraft like Boeing 737-700 or 737-800 which we have in our fleet and are capable of misleading pilots during taxing. We hope this incident will make FAAN to re-do those markings”.
He also debunked the claim that another of the airline’s aircraft had an incident in Abuja on Saturday.
“Arik Air continues to operate to the highest safety standards as recommended by the NCAA, EASA and Federal Airport Administration of the United States of America. Our guests are assured of their safety aboard our flights at all times,” he said.