The Federal Government has joined the global coalition banning the use of Boeing 737 Max-8 by any operator in Nigeria.
It announced the ban through Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, following global outrage that trailed the crash of a Boeing 737 Max-8 plane belonging to Ethiopian Airlines, few minutes after taking off in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on a flight to Nairobi, in Kenya.
Over 338 lives were lost in the two crashed in similar circumstances, fueling doubts over the safety record of the aircraft type.
The Boeing 737 MAX- 8 flight plunged into a field on Sunday, killing all 157 passengers on board. The victims included Ambassador Abiodun Bashiru and Prof Pius Adesanmi.
On October 29, 2018, Lion Air flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea, off the coast of Indonesia, killing all 189 on board.
Briefing State House correspondents after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, Sirika said that such plane would not be allowed into Nigeria until the determination of the cause.
The latest crash of the Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft model triggered anxiety among Nigerian passengers following reports that three indigenous carriers – Arik Air, Air Peace and Green Africa Airways – have placed orders for over 118 Boeing 737 Max-8 planes.
Though the carriers placed individual orders, none is yet to take delivery of the aircraft type.
On September 18, 2018, Air Peace placed order for ten Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
The deal was valued at $1.17 billion. The carrier said it was monitoring ongoing investigations over the aircraft type, promising to take a final position soon.
The airline’s reaction, its official said, was propelled by calls from passengers and stakeholders who sought clarification on its stand concerning the crash of the aircraft type.
Its Corporate Communications Manager, Chris Iwarah, said: “The management of Air Peace Airline has thought it imperative to clarify that Air Peace recently placed a firm order for 10 brand new Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft.
“We are, however, yet to take delivery of the aircraft as we are still at the design and configuration stage of the order. This clarification has become necessary in view of numerous calls and enquiries on our response to the incidents involving the B737 Max-8 aircraft.
“Although, it is premature to comment on the incidents, we wish to assure members of the flying public that we are closely following and monitoring developments on the issue as an airline that prioritises the safety and well-being of our customers.
“While we keep engaging with our partners in this regard, we repose implicit confidence in Boeing and aviation authorities to capably and satisfactorily address all the issues if at the conclusion of ongoing investigations it is discovered that the challenge is with the B737 Max-8.
“We urge members of the flying public to continue to choose Air Peace as their preferred airline and trust us to always act in their best interest.”
Besides Air Peace, another operator, Arik Air, had on May 9, 2016, ordered for eight Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft. The date for the delivery of the aircraft has not been fixed.
On December 21, 2018, a new entrant in the sector – Green Africa Airways, placed order for 100 Boeing 737 Max-8 planes.
The 100 aircraft by Green Africa Airways was split into 50 firm orders and 50 options.
The deal was estimated at $11.7 billion at the current price tag, making it the largest Boeing aircraft ordered by an African carrier.