One, two, many: Nigeria averts yet another airport tragedy

About 250 passengers escaped death yesterday when two FirstNation aircrafts collided at the Murtala Mohammed Airport terminal 2 Lagos. Although the planes were slightly damaged and no one was hurt, this ought to have been prevented considering a similar occurrence happened on July 6 2015 when two planes belonging to Emirates and Hak Air collided.

Friday’s incident which occurred at mid-day threatened the lives of all passengers aboard the two Airbus 330. It was reported that the pilot may have been pointed in the wrong direction by the marshals who led the pilot down the wrong path. A source at the airport explained that while one of the FirstNation aircraft was taxiing from the runway to MMA2 to drop off its passengers, the other was set to take off to Port Harcourt airport from the same terminal. This however doesn’t rule out the option of a system malfunction as  the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority have a bad reputation for poor safety oversight .

It isn’t enough for FirstNation to issue a refund to passengers aboard the Port-Harcourt bound aircraft, The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority needs to implement a ground collision avoidance system in order to ensure the safety of all customers. This is a major requirement for Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed airport which is the most frequented by passengers with the greatest number in all years of review. Renowned for strong International passenger traffic, one can only imagine the outcome should the incidence have been more fatal. Not only would it have very easily been a repeat of the Tenerife airport disaster, but it also affect tourism and investor confidence.

NCAA grounded both aircrafts with immediate effect while passengers were asked to get off by the plane. The authorities confirmed this incident in a statement issued by its General Manager, Public Affairs, Fan Ndubuoke.

The incident has been referred to the Accident Investigation Bureau for further investigation as it is very important that this is resolved within the shortest period. However the question remains whether the marshal made a terrible mistake or if there is actually more to it?

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