Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has commenced an investigation into the aircraft incident involving Delta Air Lines in Nigeria. The bureau interrogated the crew of the airline at its office at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.
A source close to the agency told SaharaReporters that the pilots and the cabin crew were among those interrogated today by the agency.This is as the airline has tendered apologies to the Federal Government over the late report of last Tuesday’s incident to the bureau in which one of its engines was engulfed in fire mid-air forcing the airline to return and land in Lagos on emergency
AIB had told journalists in Lagos on Wednesday that the airline refused to report the incident to it as required by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommended practises and standards.
Rather, the airline went ahead to report the incident to the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) of the United States.
A statement by Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, the General Manager, Public Affairs of AIB today said that the airline had apologized to the country for its conduct.
The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 aircraft had returned to MMIA barely thirty minutes in the air.
The Atlanta bound Delta Flight 55, which departed Lagos Tuesday night returned, following an issue with one of the Airbus 330-200’s two engines.
Leading a team of the airline officials including the technical crew of the flight and the airlines Lagos Airport station Manager to the Ikeja head office of the bureau around 5pm local time, Miss Shannon Masters, Manager, Air Safety Investigation expressed the airline’s regret for the oversight, stressing that it was not intentional.
Said Masters: “We sincerely apologized for the error and we promise to cooperate with AIB in the investigation of this occurrence.”
The Commissioner of AIB, Akin Olateru, while accepting Delta’s apology said AIB had already commenced an investigation into the serious incident and welcome the airline’s cooperation.
“We look forward to receiving cooperation from Delta Airlines as we work to determine the cause of this serious incident in the interest of safety.“
The Nigerian accident investigation body had frowned at the American carrier’s failure to notify it of the serious incident involving its aircraft in line with Nigerian air safety regulations and international practice.
The airline was believed to have notified the United States NTSB of the occurrence immediately in line with the US laws.
Nigeria, as the state of occurrence under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 is responsible for investigating any aircraft occurrences within her airspace.
The state of registry of the aircraft and the airline may serve as observers.