The Nigeria Football Federation has declared that Arik Air remains one of the best airlines in the world and that it would continue to patronize the airline for its efficiency and excellent safety record.
This was just as Arik Air came out on Sunday night to explain that its plane conveying the Nigeria U-23 team to The Gambia for a training camp did not lose an engine.
The President of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick, on Monday regretted the misunderstanding that led to panic reports of “lost engine” and “near plane crash”.
Pinnick stated: “I was contacted immediately after the incident and I know that the airplane was not in any serious problem. When these things happen, the tendency is for people to sensationalize.
“Arik Air has remained one of the safest and best airlines and we will continue to patronise them. They have provided us excellent services in recent times, flying the Super Eagles to and from Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Swaziland, without any untoward incident.”
Pinnick commended the aircraft in Arik’s fleet and said the airline’s safety precautions are marvellous.
He added: “They have flown us with their excellent Boeing 737-800 and the Bombardier Jet in recent times, and players and officials have never had any reason to complain.”
Arik flew the Super Eagles to and from Tanzania for a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in September, flew the Eagles B delegation to and from Burkina Faso for a 2016 African Nations Championship qualifier in October and also flew the Super Eagles to and fro Swaziland for a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier last week.
The NFF on Monday reiterated the statement by Arik Air’s Public Relations and Communications Manager, Banji Ola, that “the captain saw an indication light and as a precautionary measure, he had to make an air return. It was not a case of lost engine.
“There was no case of lost engine. It is true that the one that flew the team from Lagos lost one tyre while landing in Accra. As for the other airplane, the pilot only saw an indication light and made an air return as a precautionary measure.
“Arik immediately made arrangement for another aircraft to fly the team to The Gambia.”
The Nigeria U-23 delegation has since arrived and settled down in The Gambia, where the team is undergoing a 10-day training programme ahead of the 2nd Africa U-23 Cup of Nations starting in Senegal on November 28.