Nigeria has joined the league of other countries across the world in banning the “killer” Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane from flying over its airspace to ensure passenger safety. Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, made this declaration when he addressed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). Re-elected President Muhammadu Buhari, presided over the meeting at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister told newsmen that the planes would remain banned from getting into Nigeria pending the determination of the actual cause of the crash of Ethiopia airline, which killed 157 passengers. In his words, “Regarding Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 that had been in the news recently, there is no cause for alarm as there is no operator in Nigeria that is using that type of airplane. The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) 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 Boeing.
“Regardless of the enormous safety records of this plane 737, 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 directive that no operator with Boeing 737 MAX 8 or MAX 9 should operate into and outside our airports and this is being carried out,’’ the minister stated.
When reminded that Air Peace and Arik had ordered same embattled 737 planes, the minister disclosed that the planes would not be available in the country until 2021. According to him, “Regarding Air Peace and Arik 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 enough periods 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 And it is normal standard practice that once a particular aircraft is involved in accident back to back, it is withdrawn from the market and see if there is something they are doing wrong.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 plane worldwide until the problem is fix. So, this case is not different.’’