UK Regulator reports Air Peace to NCAA over alleged safety violations

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The Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom has reported local airline operator Air Peace to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for alleged noncompliance with safety requirements in the UK.

The NCAA’s spokesman, Michael Achimugu, told Channels Television on Monday that the regulator has received some complaints from its British counterpart about Air Peace operations at Gatwick Airport in London.

Achimugu stated that the safety concerns were raised during a ramp inspection by the UKCAA.

It was discovered that two necessary occurrence reports on Air Peace were sent to the UKCAA, who then transferred the complaints to its Nigerian counterpart.

The NCAA spokesman noted that the authority has written Air Peace to clarify the issues raised about its operations at Gatwick.

Achimugu stressed that the complaints raised by the UKCAA fell under less serious categories of violations and not the Level 1 category which is for serious safety non-compliance.

“The complaints do not mean that the airline can no longer operate at the Gatwick airport. The NCAA has communicated the complaints to the airline. Investigation is ongoing,” he said.

Air Peace Responds

When contacted, Air Peace Spokesman Stanley Olisa simply said the airline would officially respond to the complaints.

He subsequently sent our correspondent the airline’s official statement on the matter. “We can confirm that the UK Civil Aviation Authority wrote to Air Peace, after their statutory Ramp Inspection on April 7, 2024, to request clarification on our use of the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) and some other concerns,” the statement partly read. “We provided the necessary information, and the matter was resolved without any issues.”

“It is, therefore, wrong to say we do not have approval for our EFB. Air Peace received approval from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and all our Boeing 777 aircraft are certified to operate with EFBs.”

The airline further said, “Regarding the claim that our B777 aircraft lack iPad mounts and charging ports in the flight deck, this is incorrect. All B777 aircraft are equipped with charging ports in the cockpit, and we ensure that all our B777 aircraft have iPad mounts.

“Another issue raised by the UK CAA was the location of our cockpit library on the B777. The B777 designates two locations for storing manuals and books: one behind the captain and one under the jumpseat. During the inspection, the books were stored under the jumpseat, as it is commonly practised. We understand the inspector’s preference for the books to be placed behind the captain and have ensured this preference is accommodated for all operations going forward.

“There was also a concern about the captain’s choice of runway exit after landing. Instead of exiting at the middle runway exit, the captain, out of his professional discretion, opted to exit at the end of the runway. This may have delayed the arrival of another aircraft. We acknowledge this deviation and have addressed the matter with the captain to ensure adherence to preferred exit procedures in the future.”

Air Peace said safety record assured passengers of its commitment to safety and full compliance.

Air Peace At Gatwick

On March 30, 2024, Air Peace reciprocated the lopsided Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and the United Kingdom when the local airline began direct flight operations from Lagos to Gatwick Airport in London.

On April 25, 2024, Aviation Minister Festus Keyamo gave approval for the airline to add Abuja to its London route.

The development has been applauded by many industry observers, with more local airlines being encouraged to commence international flights to profitable routes.

The price of an international flight ticket on the Lagos-London route was as high as N3.5 million, but with Air Peace pegging a return economy class ticket for N1.2 million, foreign airlines such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Qatar Airways have been forced to slash their prices to stay competitive.

The entrance of Air Peace on the London route has sparked a price war, with foreign carriers now underpricing to stay in business. Air Peace Chairman Allen Onyema had slammed foreign carriers for “devilish conspiracy” to frustrate the airline out of the route.