NCAA grounds Max Air Boeing planes, probes fuel marketers

Abuja—The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has commenced an investigation into the activities of marketers of aviation fuel, popularly called JetA1.

Punch reports that this comes after the operations of all Boeing 737 aircraft in the fleet of Max Air were suspended over safety concerns.

The suspension was enforced after some of the airline’s aircraft were allegedly involved in series of incidents, one of which showed the moment water was being drained from one of the airline’s planes while on ground in Yola.

Speaking in a zoom meeting, the Director-General, NCAA, Musa Nuhu, said the agency was investigating fuel marketers as well as the airline.

He said, “We are investigating the whole thing and we learnt that that particular aircraft took fuel from Lagos, Kano and Abuja. I expect to get a report as regards the fuelling stations. Any station found wanting will be suspended till all these iasues are resolved.

“We are going to be releasing, hopefully tomorrow, another AOL to the industry to remind them of their responsibility. Flight crew should test fuel before their flight operations. If it is Max Air or the fueling companies that are responsible for this, we’d take appropriate actions.

“We are also investigating the fuel suppliers to make sure that the problem is not with them, Max Air might be a victim of fuel suppliers.”

The suspension was conveyed in a letter with reference number, NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/363, dated July 12, 2023 and titled, ‘Suspension of Parts A3 and D43 of the Operations Specifications Issued to Max Air with Immediate Effect,’

Signed by the agency’s Director of Operations, Training and Licensing, Capt. Ibrahim Dambazau, on behalf of the NCAA DG, it stated that the authority had constituted a team of inspectors to conduct an audit on all Boeing 737 in the airline’s fleet.

The letter read in part, “The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority hereby suspends Parts A3 (Aircraft Authorization) and D43 (Aircraft Listing) of the Operations Specifications issued to Max Air Ltd. with regards to the operations of the Boeing B737 aircraft type in your fleet.

“With the above suspension, you are to immediately suspend the operations of all Boeing B737 aircraft in your fleet. The authority’s action is due to the several occurrences that involved your Boeing B737 aircraft as listed hereunder:

“Loss of Number 1 Main Landing Gear wheel during the serious incident involving a Boeing 737-400 aircraft, registration marks 5N-MBD which occurred between Take-off at Yola Airport Adamawa State and onlanding at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja Nigeria on May 7, 2023.

“Fuel contamination of the main fuel tanks of aircraft B737-300, registration marks; 5N-MHM, leading to the Auxiliary Power Unit shutdown on ground Yola Airport on the July 7, 2023.”

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