Aviation

Ethiopian Air crash: FG bans Boeing 737-Max aircraft from Nigerian airspace

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The Federal Government on Wednesday joined other countries which have grounded the Boeing 737-Max aircraft from their airspaces after an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed on Sunday, killing 157 people.

The decision was taken at the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

This was just as United States President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that the US was grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft.

The  US aviation added that it “made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analysed today (Wednesday).”

Speaking to newsmen after the FEC meeting, the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, noted that both the Boeing 737-Max 8 and Max 9 were affected by the ban.

“Regarding Boeing 737- Max 8 and Max 9, that has been in the news recently, there is no cause for alarm as there is no operator in Nigeria that is using that type of plane,” said Sirika.

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“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, whose mandate it is to issue advisory, has already issued advisory that nobody should fly into Nigeria or out of Nigeria using Boeing 737- Max 8 and Max 9, pending the determination of the actual cause of the crash in Ethiopia and also pending the outcome of the response of the manufacturer, which is Messers Boeing.

“Regardless of the enormous safety records of this plane, 737-Max, it has caused concern in the world of aviation and you know aviation is universal; whatever affects one affects the other because aircraft will be flying in and out. So, we have issued a directive that no operator with Boeing 737-Max  8 or Max 9 should operate into and out of our airports, and this is being carried out.

“Regarding Air Peace and Arik (that placed) orders, whether those orders were confirmed or intent, it is to our knowledge in the ministry that they won’t be in the country until the next two years or so.  And this is period is enough   to sort out whatever problem it is with that plane.

“The world of aviation will not be sleeping just as we in Nigeria will not be sleeping. And it is normal standard practice that once a particular aircraft type is involved in  an accident back-to-back, it is withdrawn from the market and see if there is something they are doing wrong. And if it is confirmed that a particular problem, say for instance, landing gear, they will issue an instruction to ground such  a plane worldwide until the problem is fixed.”

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