Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, has successfully performed partial emergency evacuation and ditching demonstrations as part of the safety tests for the operation of its Boeing 777 aircraft.
Air Peace Corporate Communications Manager, Mr Chris Iwarah, confirmed the development to newsmen in Lagos on Monday. Iwarah said the test, which was conducted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Nov. 29, was a major regulatory hurdle on the airline’s path to begin international flight services.
He said: “Emergency aircraft evacuation refers to an exercise aimed at evacuating those on an aircraft when an emergency occurs on the ground, in water or mid-flight.
“The ditching demonstration, however, simulates a planned water landing and evaluates the airline’s ability to handle such emergency.
“An emergency evacuation demonstration is mostly required when an airline proposes operating a specific aircraft type and model entering into its service for the first time.
“Once the signal for it is given, the aircraft’s emergency evacuation equipment and 50 per cent of the required emergency exits and slides must be ready for use in a maximum of 15 seconds.
“Although simulated, evacuation drills are a risky operation for crew and other participants — often leading to injury of varying degrees.”
According to him, Air Peace recently acquired four Boeing 777 for its long-haul operations to destinations including Dubai, Sharjah, London, Houston, Guangzhou-China, Mumbai and Johannesburg.
Iwarah noted that the airline made history as the first Nigerian carrier to acquire and register the Boeing 777 in the country.
“Being the first time the Boeing 777 was entering its service, Air Peace was mandated by aviation regulations to demonstrate its capacity to handle emergency evacuation and ditching under the close supervision of officials of the NCAA,”he said.
Iwarah said the exercise took place at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from about 5pm to 10 pm and was supervised by the NCAA team led by Group Capt. E.C Agu.
He said the airline’s emergency demonstrators, led by Capt. Simon Donoghue, were able to deploy the four slides of the eight-exit Boeing 777 aircraft within 10.5 seconds, which is 4.5 seconds ahead of the maximum time allowed.
Iwarah said with the evacuation exercise off the way, Air Peace was now set for the next stage of regulatory requirements for the induction of its B777 aircraft into service and commencement of its international flights.
He confirmed that the airline would within the next few weeks operate demonstration flights with its B777 aircraft to Port Harcourt, Kano, Freetown, Dakar, Johannesburg and Sharjah