gang of robbers on Thursday night swooped on an Air Peace plane while preparing for takeoff at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
The incident occurred at about 7.35 pm on Runway 18 Right (A1) of the airport, the airline said Friday.
It said suspected bandits opened the cargo hold of the aircraft.
Spokesman for the company, Chris Iwarah said the crew observed the development and insisted on thorough security of the Abuja – bound flight after the incident.
Iwarah said the carrier’s crew acted in line with the high safety standards of the airline.
He expressed appreciation to “all our wonderful guests on board Flight 7138 for their support, patience and cooperation throughout the precautionary security checks conducted by Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) squad, Federal Airport Authorities of Nigeria Aviation Security and our security team after suspected thieves opened the cargo hold of our aircraft.”
Pilot-in-Command, Capt. Adesola Arasi was said to have contacted the control tower “when he was alerted by the light that came on in the cockpit suggesting that the cargo hold was opened for about 15 seconds and immediately shut.”
He added: “In line with our high security standards and the huge value we place on the lives of our guests and crew, Capt. Arasi insisted on having EOD squad check Flight APK 7138 before takeoff to be doubly sure nothing was deposited in the cargo hold by the suspected thieves to endanger the lives of our guests and crew.
“Our guests, who were fully briefed of the development by the pilot-in-command, were advised to disembark from the aircraft and board an Air Peace bus while the joint security operation by EOD, FAAN AVSEC and our security team lasted. The Lagos-Abuja flight was cleared by the security experts after exhaustive screening of the aircraft lasting about 30 minutes.
“The flight eventually took off at 9.30pm and safely landed in Abuja at about 10.23pm. Our satisfied guests commended the professionalism of Capt. Arasi and his team as well as the high safety standards of Air Peace.”