The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has lifted the ban on Boeing 737 Max Aircraft in the Nigerian Airspace with effect from 12th February, 2021.
Daily Trust reports that Nigeria through the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had banned Boeing’s Max aircraft following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.
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Boeing’s 737 Max fleet was grounded globally after the fatal crashes, the first a Lion Air flight which crashed into the sea off Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2018, and the second an Ethiopian Airlines’ flight which crashed shortly after take off from Addis Ababa in March, 2019. In total, 346 people were killed, including Prof Pius Adesanmi, Canada-based Nigerian social critic.
But in November 2020, the United States aviation regulatory body, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), granted approval for the Boeing 737 Max aircraft to commence flight operations.
The FAA in a letter signed by its Administrator, Steve Dickson, said its employees worked assiduously in the last 20 months to address the safety issues that triggered the crashes.
Lift of global ban
Daily Trust reports that since the global ban was lifted by the FAA, there have been several test flights while countries have started allowing the aircraft into their airspace.
Nigeria has followed suit giving operators the greenlight to fly into the country.
On 18th November 2020, NCAA had received a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) CAN-2020-24 advising it of the FAA’s ongoing continued operational safety activities related to returning Boeing Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) aircraft service.
This, however, made the FAA issue a final rule/Airworthiness Directive (AD) that mandated the following actions for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
The actions include to “install new flight control computer software and new 737 MAX display system software; incorporate certain Airplane Flight Manual flight crew operating procedures, Modify horizontal stabiliser trim wire routing installations.
Others are to “Conduct an angle of attack sensor system test; and Conduct an operation readiness flight.”
Nigeria gives condition for return of the aircraft
In a statement, Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said the authority recognized that “a Joint Authority Technical Review (JATR) that comprised International Aviation Authorities such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Transport Canada (TC) and the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority amongst others carried out a joint review of the Boeing 737 MAX safety system alongside FAA and NASA.”
The NCAA also explained that the FAA has released documents on Boeing 737 Flight Standardization Board Report, revision 17, identifying special pilot training for the 737 MAX and Safety Alert for Operators.
Recognising the joint review of the Boeing 737 Max Safety System, the NCAA has come up with actions required of all foreign and domestic operators.
It said all intending domestic operators are required to work with the Boeing Company and NCAA for the Aircraft Type Certificate Acceptance Programme in order to have the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft registered in Nigeria and issued with a Standard Certificate of Airworthiness.
“All foreign air operators that intend to operate the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into Nigeria must submit evidence of compliance with the FAA AD 2020-24-02,” the DG added.
He said the NCAA will continue to ensure strict compliance to Safety Regulations as violations will be viewed seriously.