Arik spokesman Banji Ola explains what happened:
The management of Arik Air has expressed shock over the incident wondering how the teenager beat the Aviation Security personnel at the Benin Airport to get to the runway.
The pilot of Arik Air flight W3 544, departing Benin Airport for Lagos at 9.00am today 24th August, 2013 reported to the control tower the presence of a strange boy in the bush about 200 – 300 meters at the end of runway 23.
The control tower told the Captain that they were sending security men to the place to arrest the boy.
As the captain was making his final turn, preparatory for take-off, a cabin crew called his attention to the information by some of the passengers that they saw a boy running towards the airplane.
The First Officer confirmed that they had observed it earlier and alerted the control tower which responded that they have sent the patrol team to arrest the boy. The Captain again reported to the control tower and was informed that the situation was under control and that he had been cleared for take-off.
On arrival at the domestic wing of MMA, Lagos, a teenage boy, who apparently had sneaked into the aircraft main wheel well jumped out and was arrested by Arik personnel and handed over to FAAN security.Meanwhile the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) blamed Arik Air for the incident.
FAAN said in a statement:
"Arik Air acted with impunity by not stopping the aircraft to check when the crew and ground personnel’s attention was drawn to an abnormality on the tarmac. This is arrant display of impunity. The aircraft should not have taxied further, but return to the apron until a proper check is carried out on all parts of the aircraft. FAAN will not tolerate such impunity henceforth from Arik or any airline. Any violation would be met with applicable sanctions.