BARNEY ORERE PONDROS
PASSENGERS on an early morning Air Niugini flight from Lae yesterday were stuck inside their aircraft for about half an hour after the door failed to open on arrival at Port Moresby’s Jackson Airport.
For those with business appointments, it was disappointing, and for others, it was annoying having to remain seated after a smooth 45-minute trip on PX100.
According to a passenger, everything was normal until the cabin crew tried to open the main door.
After several futile attempts, a maintenance team on the ground was summoned to help.
The ground crew toiled in vain and opted for the service door located at the rear of the Fokker 100.
After disembarking, a passenger raised concerns that the flag-carrier must ensure proper maintenance was carried out so that such dramas were not repeated.
“For a normal situation, it is understandable but what will the result be if it was an emergency and the doors could not open?” he asked.
Yesterday afternoon, the airline’s CEO Wasantha Kumarasiri confirmed the incident describing it as minor and explained that “the delay of 20 minutes to open the other door was due to positioning the steps”.
“Steps are not considered normal to F100 operation as they are fixed with air stairs,” he said.
“Aircraft doors have dual systems to open the doors in emergencies but the emergency procedure was not applied here as the aircraft was on the ground and, besides, the situation was not an emergency.”
He advised that a preliminary review by its engineers found no defect on the door, but as a precaution its safety unit “is now reviewing the door opening procedures applied during the process”.
The aircraft departed safely and on schedule for its next flight.