Ambassador Olukanni: Ethiopian flight landing incident sensationalised, touchdown was excellent

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By Brendan Umoren

The Director General of the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mine and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ambassador Ayo Olukanni, has said yesterday’s landing incident of the Ethiopian Airlines flight 901 from Addis Ababa to Lagos was too sensationalised.

Olukanni, who was one of the passengers on the flight which also had former President Olusegun Obasanjo on board, had an excellent touchdown.

This was after an initial failed attempt to land following the downpour at the runway.

The pilot of the flight in line with the standard and recommended practice reportedly climbed again before initiating a second landing procedure which was successful.

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Aviation authorities including the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the airline had also dismissed several online media report suggesting what happened was a near mishap.

The NACCIMA DG who was a passenger on the flight said he was inundated with many calls and text messages when the report went viral about the near mishap.

According to him, the incident was not as bad as painted.

His account read: “I thank you all for your calls and messages over the flight from Addis Ababa where I had gone to represent NACCIMA at the AU/UN stakeholders’ Dialogue on the AfCFTA which enters into force tomorrow 30th May 2019 (today).

“My phone has been ringing off the hook. All I can say is that the whole event about the flight, the ET 901 was simply sensationalized and exaggerated probably because former Obasanjo was on that flight and it was not as bad as they are painting it. Aborted landings and second approach are normal in aviation in such weather conditions with pouring rain.

“The Captain simply followed standard operating procedures and precautionary measures in the circumstances; on the final approach, he pulled up smoothly and it was a steady climb. Thereafter, he lined up with the runway for a second approach. And we had what in aviation circle is known as “XTD” (Excellent Touch Down). Former President Obasanjo and FAAN have also responded to correct the story. I thank you all”.

The spokesman of NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said the aircraft did not overshoot runway as some reports indicated.

“There was no incident of over shooting of runway in Lagos. However, Ethiopian Airlines came into Lagos at a time it was raining and there was reduced visibility. Hence, it had to go back and hovered for a while. Finally, it came back and landed safely.”

Also FAAN through its spokesperson, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, said there was no incident, saying the Pilot in Command acted professionally by aborting landing and on a second attempt landed safely.

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