NIGERIA has joined the European Union, United Kingdom, China and others to ban the Boeing 737 Max 8 from flying over its airspace in a bid to ensure passenger safety.
Already no fewer than 50 countries have restricted the B737Max from their airspace including nations like Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, China, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia.
Others are Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore.
The remaining are Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom
The Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, disclosed this after the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said that the planes would remain banned until the actual cause of the crash in Ethiopia is determined and pending the outcome of the response of the manufacturers of the aircraft.
His word, “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, 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,’’ he said.
Regarding the 737 aircraft orders by Air Peace and Arik, the minister disclosed that the planes would not be available in the country until 2021.
He said: “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.’’