By Senator IroegbuÂ in Abuja
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has underscored the need for additional scrutiny and precaution in the aviation sector to ensure safe operations and passenger satisfaction.
The Director General of CPC, Babatunde Irukera made the assertion in a statement yesterdayÂ following an emergency landing of Arik Air Flight W3304 at Kotoka International Airport, Accra (ACC), Ghana on Tuesday evening.
Irukera acknowledged the efforts of the Sector regulator, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in this direction, insisting that the efforts should be reinforced to avoid incidents in the sector and to sustain consumer confidence.
According to him, â€œthe CPC again encourages relevant aviation authorities to ensure full compliance with local and other applicable consumer protection laws, regulations and protocols particularly, but not limited to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations Part 19.
â€œAlthough there have been reported accidents in world aviation in recent times, and incidents in Nigeria, CPC understands that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is exercising additional scrutiny and precaution to continue to ensure safe operations and passenger satisfaction. CPC welcomes this assurance while underscoring the importance of such efforts to avoid incidents and sustain consumer confidence in the sector,â€ he added.
The director general disclosed that â€œon Tuesday March 6th, 2018, Arik Air Flight W3304 departed Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos (LOS) for Kotoka International Airport, Accra (ACC) at approximately 19:15hrs for a 55-minute flight. The flight was operated by a Dash 8 Q400 turbo propeller aircraft. Â
â€œClose to arrival and approximately 81 miles from ACC, passengers reported smoke in the cabin of the aircraft. The captain confirmed that there was smoke in the cabin from an unknown source, but secured the operation of the aircraft”.Â
He declared an emergency and landed the aircraft in accordance with emergency landing procedures.
â€œAll passengers and crew disembarked safely and ultimately received their baggage. CPC understands that Ghanaian aviation authorities have been notified and (in partnership with Nigerian Civil aviation authorities) are in charge of inquiring into, and investigating the incident. The aircraft has remained on ground in Accra accordinglyâ€ he further pointed out.
The Councilâ€™s director general also commended the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for its â€œunprecedented attention and actionâ€ in directing â€œa safety audit of a domestic airline involved in an incidentâ€.
Irukera advised consumers to always â€œexercise their rights by demanding and insisting on appropriate services and providing timely information to relevant authorities in the event of irregularities.
â€œOnce again, we are grateful all passengers are safe and demand that Arik deploy all necessary apparatus to ameliorate any inconvenience or anxiety passengers may have experiencedâ€ he added.