Friday, February 16, 2018

Aircraft burglary incidents escalate, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria deploys armed vehicles

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has raised high security alert at most of the country’s aerodromes with the deployment of additional 10 heavily armed Hilux patrol vehicles to the airside of Lagos airport.

This is coming amid the escalation of burglary of airplanes on the holding section of the Lagos airport by unknown persons who constitute security breach to passengers and facilities including airplanes.

Meanwhile, there is a new reported case of robbers operating within the perimeter fence of the Lagos airport. The robbers were said to have attempted to burgle an African World Airlines (AWA) Accra bound CRJ jet as it prepared for take-off.

Spokeswoman for FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu in a statement said the deployment of these vehicles is one of the measures being adopted by the authority to enhance operational efficiency and also boost security procedures at the airport.

The Authority will like to assure airport users and the general public that we will continue to upgrade our facilities, processes and procedures, in consonance with our core values of security, safety and comfort.

A source told that the thieves opened a cargo door of the light aircraft and tried to steal passengers’ luggage, but the pilot recognising the situation around him scared the thieves away with releasing hot gas on them. The incident was said to have occurred on Tuesday.

The situation caused delay to the aircraft departure, with Police anti-bomb squad called to re-check the airplane for safety.

It was learnt that passengers on-board were disembarked and asked to undergo identification of their luggage before the airplane was cleared for take-off.

Just this week, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Air Peace traded words over attempt to burgle the B737 aircraft.

While the carrier maintained that the rear cargo hold of the airline’s Flight 7138 holding for departure on Runway 18R of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos was opened by thieves on February 8. The aviation regulatory body had, in a statement by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, described the airline’s allegation as ‘unfounded’.

The aviation regulatory body stated that their investigation proved that the burglary incident never occurred after it reviewed all the reports from the relevant agencies concerning the incident.

Adurogboye stated that in line with Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs), aviation security personnel were at the holding point of Runway 18R monitoring the departure/ take off of both Air Peace and Arik Air aircraft.

It will be recalled that on December 12, 2017, a Vistajet jet with registration number 9H-VFA operated by Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN) Ltd. was robbed on the runway 18R of the airport by bandits when taxiing to the hangar of EAN.

The jet was arriving from Istanbul between 2110- 2130hrs when the robbery took place after landing in Lagos.

The pilot of the jet, Captain Emma Heering, discovered that the rear door of the aircraft was opened while taxiing to the hangar of EAN after which it was discovered that a big black bag belonging to the air hostess, Francesca Louis, was missing from the jet.

Also, a private jet carrying two top Nigerian musical artists, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun aka “Wizkid” and Tiwa Savage from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State was robbed on December 26, 2017 while taxiing on Murtala Muhammed airport’s runway 18L.

The pilot, Captain Cloud Cote, was said to have noticed the cargo door had been opened by burglars and promptly notified the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) security.

The burglars had disappeared before FAAN officials could make it to the point where the attack took place. Upon arrival at Quits Aviation Centre, a private jet hangar, the pilot discovered that two bags belonging to Savage and Wizkid had been stolen by the airport bandits.

However, in a statement, FAAN denied that the incident took place. “It is not possible for anyone to burgle an aircraft in motion. Furthermore, because aircraft are highly technical machines, it is practically impossible for anyone who does not have the requisite training and competence to operate or tamper with the baggage compartment,” FAAN stated.

Original article can be found here ➤

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