Aviation company denies tampering with Adeleke’s aircraft

THE management of Quits Aviation has refuted allegations of tampering with the engine of the Bombardier Challenger 605 aircraft owned by Deji Adeleke, the elder brother of Osun State Governor Ademola Adeleke.

In a statement on Tuesday, September 19, Quits Aviation said under an Aircraft Parking Agreement with aircraft owners, it was responsible for providing suit­able and secured parking space at its premises, while the owner was responsible for the technical parking procedures in accordance with the respective Aircraft Main­tenance Manuals.

On Sunday, September 18, Leadership newspaper reported that the private jet caught fire at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos with Governor Adeleke and some of his aides on board.

The incident happened at the domestic wing of the airport at about 9 a.m. on September 5, when the jet was about to take off from the airport to Abuja.

According to the report, the jet was taxing to the runway’s end in preparation for departure when a sudden loud explosion emanated from the engine, prompting an immediate cancellation of the take-off.

Subsequently, the spokesperson to Governor Adeleke, Olawale Rasheed, in a statement on Sunday, September 19, confirmed that Adeleke and some of his aides recently escaped an aircraft crash.

He also alleged that the engine of an aircraft carrying the governor might have been tampered with, adding that initial reports from the internal investigation indicated the possibility of sabotage.

He said: “Contrary to the claim by the hanger owner that birds’ nests caused the incident, birds’ nests are made with straws, not bidding wires as in this case.

“The near-fatal incident was averted shortly after boarding and less than two minutes after commencement of taxing on the tarmac.”

The aircraft was parked at Quits Aviation premises before the September 5, 2023 incident. 

Meanwhile, the management of Quits Aviation argued that the aircraft was under 24-hour security surveillance and that there was no record of observed tampering or security infringements.

“According to CCTV footage observed, the following can be confirmed: On the day of the flight (04.09.2023) at approximately 08:45, the aircraft was towed from its parked position and repositioned close to the Legend Business Hangar to begin with flight preparation procedures.”

The management emphasized that apart from relocating the aircraft from its original parking spot to another location before Adeleke’s flight on September 4, 2023, a review of the CCTV footage showed no evidence of tampering or breaches in security.

Quits further explained that the aircraft had been parked with no engine cover protection. 

The company, however, expressed regret over the incident and affirmed its collaboration with relevant stakeholders and authorities investigating the event.

It also recommended that its clients adhere strictly to the Aircraft Maintenance Manual Procedures by ensuring that engines are always covered to mitigate the risk of foreign object damage or infestation.

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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