- Chidozie Uzoezie
Getting Ready: Air Peace Scales Boeing 777 Safety Tests
Nigeria's Air Peace on Thursday scaled a major regulatory hurdle in its path to international flight services, successfully performing the partial emergency evacuation and ditching demonstrations as part of the safety tests for the operation of its Boeing 777 aircraft.
Emergency aircraft evacuation is 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 an 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 is given, the aircraft's emergency evacuation equipment and 50 percent 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.
Air Peace recently acquired four Boeing 777 for its long-haul operations to destinations including Dubai, Sharjah, London, Houston, Guangzhou-China, Mumbai, and Johannesburg. 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 Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) comprising Group.
Air Peace emergency demonstrators on the flight included Capt Simon Donoghue, Capt Ndubisi Ekwempu, First Officer Femi Aderomu, First Officer Ahmed Abdullahi and 16 Cabin Crew.
Once the signal for the exercise to commence was given, the crew set out to work, deploying the four slides of the eight-exit Boeing 777 aircraft within 10.5 seconds - 4.5 seconds ahead of the maximum time allowed. They drew applause for their display of efficiency.
They assured that the carrier would continue to prioritize safety and compliance with aviation regulations in its preparations for the launch of its long-haul flights to Dubai, Sharjah, London, Houston, Guangzhou-China, Mumbai, and Johannesburg.
With the evacuation exercise done, Air Peace said it was now set for the next stage of regulatory requirements for the induction of its Boeing 777 aircraft into service and commencement of its international flights.
The airline confirmed that it would soon operate demonstration flights with its Boeing 777 aircraft to Port Harcourt, Kano, Freetown, Dakar, Johannesburg, and Sharjah.