By Adekunle Williams and Solomon Asowata
Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, on
Its Corporate Communications Manager, Mr Chris Iwarah, made the comment in Lagos.
Iwarah said Air Peace Flight P4 7121 made an air return to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, after receiving information that there was an explosive on board the aircraft.
According to him, the operating crew acted professionally and took the decision to return as a precaution.
He attributed the false information to an intending passenger who was denied boarding after the crew suspected that he might be mentally challenged.
Iwarah said: “We confirm that Air Peace Flight P4 7121, Abuja-Lagos returned to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, after the crew received information that there was a dangerous item on board.
“In line with procedures and our high safety standards, the captain-in-command acted professionally, briefed passengers on board and took the decision to return as a precaution.
“The aircraft landed in Abuja without any incident and passengers disembarked normally to enable security personnel to conduct a check.
“Passengers on board the flight were screened a second time and the aircraft thoroughly checked.
“At the end of the exercise, the information was found to be a hoax as nothing was found on the aircraft.”
He said the aircraft was subsequently cleared to depart for Lagos and safely landed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, at about 11.44a.m.
Iwarah said the passenger who gave the information had since been taken into custody by security operatives for exhaustive investigation into the incident.
“We commend our valued customers on board the flight for their calm and cooperation while the checks lasted.
“The safety, security and wellbeing of our customers and crew will continue to be our priority at all times,” he said in a statement.
Also, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), also confirmed the incident.
“The threat of a bomb on an early morning Air Peace Flight from Abuja to Lagos has been confirmed to be false.
“The passenger that raised the alarm is said to have a history of mental illness and is currently with the security agencies and medical experts for assessment,” Yakubu said in a statement.
According to her, following the false information, officers of FAAN’s Aviation Security swiftly evacuated passengers, crew and cargo on board the flight.
She said a bomb squad immediately conducted a thorough check on the aircraft and baggage, which confirmed the information to be false.
“FAAN will like to re-assure passengers and all airport users that our airports are safe and secure.
“They should carry on their lawful activities without any fear,” Yakubu said. (NAN)