The management of Arik Airlines have been told by Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, yesterday,to accept responsibility for the boy that stowed away on it’s aircraft rather than put the whole blame on FAAN.
Arik Airlines' management had said that it was shocked at the incident wondering how the boy managed escape the Aviation Security personnel at the Benin Airport to get to the runway. General Manager, Corporate Communications, FAAN, Mr. Yakubu Dati, said that the accusation was by Arik airlines was unfair to FAAN adding that the airline took no responsibility whatsoever for such a serious security breach. According to Dati , when the passengers notified the authority of the airline, the airline would have conducted a proper check and ensure that the boy was promptly arrested but they rather chose to continue with the flight. Dati said: ”The facts of the matter as FAAN’s investigation has revealed, are completely different to the Arik account. The facts of the stowaway incident are as follows: “On Saturday August 24, 2013 at about 0905hrs, ARIK flight 544 departed Benin Airport for Lagos. The normal runway inspections were conducted by FAAN Security at 0730hrs and 0850hrs. These runway inspections are conducted routinely all day, everyday, by a FAAN Security patrol teams and are aimed at preventing animal and human incursions unto the aircraft maneuvering areas of the airfield. “Our investigations reveal that a passenger on board the flight called the attention of the cabin crew while the aircraft was waiting to take off at the threshold of the runway, to the effect that they had seen a young boy walk under the aircraft and had not seen him reappear either side. “The cabin crew in turn informed the pilots in the cockpit about this. The pilots called the control tower and asked them to request FAAN to do a sweep of the area after their departure, opting to carry on with their flight despite the report.” The FAAN General Manager further pointed out that; “ Immediately the aircraft took-off from the Benin airport, FAAN’s security did another sweep of the area and found nothing unusual.” He however noted that the agency was only informed that there had been a stowaway found alive alighting from the wheel well of the aircraft upon arrival at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos. “While FAAN takes this security breach extremely seriously, we deem Arik’s attempt at indicting and smearing FAAN as irresponsible. Safety and security breaches occur when all the checks in the system are beaten. Given that security is a responsibility for all players in this industry, a critical last opportunity to detect and prevent this stowaway was offered and had the airline taken the information by passengers as seriously as they should have, this incident would have been avoided.”