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.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had announced the ban of Boeing’s Max aircraft following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.
This led to the suspension of order placed by Nigerian carrier Air Peace, which reportedly had acquired 10 of the aircraft to boost its fleet, preparatory for route expansion.
The 737 Max fleet was grounded globally after a Lion Air flight which crashed into the sea off Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2018 and 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.
However, 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.
Several test flights have been conducted to ascertain the fitness of the aircraft 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.”
In a statement, Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said the agency recognised 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 Standardisation 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.