Saturday, 10 March 2018

NIGERIA: Arik Air Plane In Emergency Landing In Accra, Ghana

A Nigerian plane made an emergency landing in Ghana after smoke was detected in the cabin, officials said Friday, in the latest incident to hit domestic and foreign airline operators.

The aircraft, owned by Arik Air, was travelling from Lagos to Accra on Tuesday when the fault was detected but no-one was hurt, a company statement said.

Arik Air flight W3 304 from Lagos to Accra on March 6, 2018 declared an emergency in line with standard operating procedures, when an unknown source of smoke was detected in the cabin, it said.

The incident occurred 130 kilometres from the Ghanaian capital but the plane landed safely in Accra without further incident, it said.

It was the latest in a string of incidents involving the aviation sector over the past month.

On February 7, an emergency exit door fell off a Dana Air jet as it landed in Abuja after flying in from Lagos.

Six days later, an Atlanta-bound Delta airlines jet was forced to return to Lagos after a fire was detected in one of its engines with passengers using emergency slides to evacuate the plane, officials said.

On February 17, an Air Peace plane had to delay landing in the southwestern city of Akure because cows had strayed onto the runway.

Another Dana Air plane overshot the runway at Port Harcourt on February 20 due to heavy rain and flooding.

And on Wednesday, the Nigerian government ordered a complete audit of Dana Air's operations to determine the technical fitness of its fleet.

The airline was grounded after a 2012 crash outside Lagos that killed all 153 on board and six on the ground. Mechanical failure and pilot error were blamed.

Arik Air yesterday explained the smoke incident that happened on it’s flight W3 304 from Lagos to Accra,Ghana. A passenger aboard the said flight had on Thursday night accused the airline of not given passengers medical attention after the plane landed in Accra

Explaining what happened, Arik Air Communication Manager, Mr Banji Ola said : Arik Air flight W3 304 from Lagos to Accra on March 6, 2018 declared an emergency in line with standard operating procedures, when unknown source of smoke was detected in the cabin 81 miles from Accra.

The captain of the flight briefed the passengers accordingly assuring them that the aircraft was under control and safe for landing in Accra.

The aircraft, a Dash 8 Q400, landed safely in Accra without further incident and all passengers disembarked normally.

The aircraft is currently parked in Acrra and our team of engineers are conducting comprehensive inspections on the aircraft to ascertain the cause of the smoke, after which the aircraft will be flown without passengers to a maintenance facility for rectification and testing.

The relevant aviation authorities in Ghana and Nigeria have been briefed appropriately on the incident, he added.

Arik Air is a Nigerian airline operating mainly from two hubs at Murtala Muhammed International Airport near Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

Arik Air's head office is the Arik Air Aviation Center on the grounds of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja. Arik Air serves a network of regional and mid-haul destinations within Africa.

On 3 April 2006, Arik Air took over the former Nigeria Airways facilities in Lagos, some three years after its liquidation, and began reconstruction work.

On 14 June 2006, Arik took delivery of 2 new Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft to fly domestic routes throughout Nigeria and, within the African continent from Summer 2006, 2 ex-United Airlines Boeing 737–300s and 3 50 seat Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft.

In August 2006, the Federal Ministry of Aviation granted Arik Air authorisation to fly to Trinidad and Tobago and Amsterdam, London and Madrid in Europe.

Furthermore, the airline then planned to fly to Atlanta, Miami, and Houston in the United States and Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

On 30 October 2006, Arik Air began scheduled passenger flights with four flights between Lagos and Abuja using CRJ 900 aircraft.

Flight operations began to Calabar on 15 November 2006 and services to Benin City and Enugu started on 7 January 2007. The airline is wholly owned by Ojemai Investments.

The Nigerian government set a deadline of 30 April 2007 for all airlines operating in the country to re-capitalise or be grounded in an effort to ensure better services and safety.

The airline satisfied the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)’s criteria in terms of re-capitalisation and was re-registered for operation.

On 4 April 2008, Arik Air was given permission to fly to the United States by the US Department of Transportation.

Arik Air started international operations to London-Heathrow on 15 December 2008, using an Airbus A340-500 aircraft damp-leased from Hi Fly. It added Johannesburg on 1 June 2009, New York JFK on 30 November 2009, and Dubai on 28 July 2014.

Subsidiary airline Arik Niger commenced operations in April 2009, but was shut down in February 2010.

Arik Air transported its 5 millionth passenger on 6 August 2010 and it transported its 10 millionth passenger on 18 September 2012, both on flights between Johannesburg and Lagos.

On 20 September 2012, the airline cancelled all its domestic operations after aviation officials raided the airline's office in Lagos, Nigeria. Flights resumed on 23 September.

Arik Air had placed an order for five Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which was cancelled in 2011.

Arik Air then placed an order for two Boeing 747-8I aircraft 2013. However, in early 2017, Arik Air converted the 747-8I orders to two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners instead.

Arik Air had been the last remaining airline customer for the passenger 747-8 who had not yet received any examples, and now the United States Air Force and UPS Airlines are the sole remaining customers.

The conversion of the 747-8 order to Dreamliners came shortly after the airline, owing to major financial stress and most aircraft not being operational.

It was taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) at the start of 2017, deeming the airline as too big to fail.

Since the takeover, all flights leaving Africa, along with flights to O.R. Tambo International Airport, have been gradually suspended.

Simultaneously, KPMG was appointed by AMCON to conduct a forensic audit on Arik Air's books.

Since then, AMCON is gradually in the process of reviving and stabilising the airline and its operations.

Arik Air in the restructuring has suspended all international operations except to Ghana, Senegal, and The Gambia, resulting in the A330 fleet being parked in France.

Arik Air has built up a domestic network covering mainly Nigerian and several other Western African destinations.

The Arik Air fleet includes the following aircraft

- Boeing 737-700 9

- Boeing 737-800 4

- Bombardier CRJ900 4

- Bombardier CRJ1000 1

- Bombardier Q400 2

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