Max Air Chairman Dahiru Bara’u Mangal has attributed the emergency landing of its Boeing 747-400 aircraft at the Minna International Airport in Niger State to “bad weather and power outage”.
The accident occurred on Saturday shortly before the aircraft landed at the airport.
It was conveying 560 Muslim pilgrims with 19 crew members from Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
The airline’s explanation on the cause of the accident came as the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) launched a probe into the matter.
In a statement which he personally signed, Mangal said: “Actually, it was not crash-landing; rather, an emergency landing and the reasons that led to it are bad weather and a power outage. There was no light at the airport when my aircraft reached Niger State and the weather was also bad.”
Contrary to some reports, the airline owner insisted that his aircraft did not crash-land but had an “emergency landing” in Minna.
“However, the beauty of the whole thing is that we have not recorded any casualty as nobody was injured or died during the unfortunate incident,” he said.
The chairman added that the aircraft, a Boeing 747-400 series, was in good condition, despite the incident.
He urged its customers to disregard reports of crash-landing in Minna.
According to some reports, the plane made a hard landing which damaged its body and some instruments on the runway.
Already, some investigators from AIB office in Lagos had visited Niger State to probe the incident.
In a statement on Saturday, AIB solicited the support of the public to provide video clips or any other relevant information on the accident.
Also, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) yesterday faulted officials of Max Air on the cause of its hard landing at the Minna International Airport.
It’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Khalid Emele, said a statement credited to Max Air’s Director of Operations, Captain Ibrahim Dilli, that the accident was caused by faulty instrument landing system resulting in epileptic and unreliable signal amounted to misrepresentation of the facts.
In a statement, Emele said: “In the said release, the airline’s Director of Operations, Capt. Ibrahim Dilli, attributed the unfortunate incident, among other things, to the Instrument Landing System at the airport, which he said was “epileptic with unreliable signals”.
“While we acknowledge that we have absolute confidence in the ability of the AIB to conduct a thorough investigation (which is ongoing), we are constrained to put things in proper perspective for the benefit our airspace users and the flying public.
“The reported weather on the day in question was 10-kilometre visibility in nil weather.
“Secondly, the said Instrument Landing System was successfully calibrated early this year (2019) and there has been no report of non-alignment by the equipment from pilots since then. Other operators who have used the facility after the incident has not complained about the ILS malfunctioning.
“Thirdly, NAMA has made available other alternative approaches, like the Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) approach procedures and Very High Omni-directional Radio Range/Distance Measuring Equipment (VOR/DME) approach procedures, which are alternatives to the ILS.
“The agency, therefore, wishes to reassure airspace users and the general public that the Nigerian airspace remains safe for air travel. In furtherance to this, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on August 29, took delivery of a brand new Beechcraft 350 flight calibration aircraft to aid NAMA in the timely, regular and efficient conduct of flight calibration of its navigational facilities nationwide, in line with global best practices.”