13 March 2019

Nigeria: Govt Assures Nigerians of Air Transportation Safety, Security

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(file photo)

Abuja and Lagos — The federal government will continue to ensure the safety of air travellers in the country, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have assured Nigerians, saying since the country does not have any Boeing 737 Max 8 on its register, there is no cause for concern over the recent crash of the aircraft in Ethiopia.

The assurances were given against the background of concerns being raised over last Sunday's crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 owned by Ethiopian Airlines, killing all 157 persons on board.

The airline and Ethiopia had immediately grounded the remaining aircraft type in its fleet.

More countries yesterday joined Ethiopia, Indonesia, China and Camay Island to ground the operations of the Boeing 737MAX8.

According to BBC, the UK's Civil Aviation Authority CAA has banned the Boeing 737 MAX 8 from operating in or over UK airspace "as a precautionary measure."

The authority said the decision was taken after "an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing Max 8 crashed on Sunday, killing 157 people on board," the second fatal accident involving that model in less than five months.

By that decision, UK has joined Malaysia, Singapore, China and Australia in banning the aircraft.

The CAA said the directive would remain in place until further notice.

Tui Airways and Norwegian Airways both operate the Boeing 737 Max 8 in the UK as part of their fleets.

"The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation. However, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder, we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace," a CAA statement said.

A Tui statement confirmed their 737 Max 8 aircraft were grounded following the CAA's decision.

"Any customers due to fly home today on a 737 MAX 8 from their holiday will be flown back on another aircraft. Customers due to travel in the coming days will also travel on holiday as planned on other aircraft," Tui said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Aviation, Sirika, and the NCAA have assured Nigerians that the federal government would continue to ensure the safety of air travellers in the country, stressing that the country does not have any Boeing 737 Max 8 on its register, and therefore no cause for concern.

Sirika, in a statement in Abuja, by the Deputy Director, Media and Public Affairs, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. James Odaudu, noted: "Nigeria identifies and commiserates with the Ethiopian aviation authorities and those who have lost loved ones, including two distinguished Nigerians, in their moment of grief."

He said the NCAA, the industry regulator in Nigeria, had issued the necessary advisory as it relates to the country.

"As we continue to mourn the ET crash in Addis, and pray for the victims, we wish to reassure Nigerians that we do not have any Boeing 737 Max on Nigeria's register to worry about. Civil aviation authority has issued the needed advisory, please," he added.

While praying for the repose of the souls of the victims of the air mishap, Sirika, however, assured the Nigerian flying public of the unalloyed commitment of the Buhari's administration to the creation of an environment that guarantees their safety and security in air transportation.

In a separate statement, the NCAA yesterday assured the flying public of their safety, stressing that there is no cause for alarm.

It said in the statement signed by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye: "Presently, the accident aircraft type, Boeing 737 - Max 8 is not in operation in the country. However, the authority, in line with its safety oversight mandate enshrined in the Civil Aviation Act 2006, is consciously monitoring the development with a view to take the necessary steps that will enhance the safety of all aircraft in operation within the Nigerian airspace.

"It would be recalled that an Ethiopian Airline B737 -Max 8 crashed on Sunday 10th March, 2019 killing all the souls on board after which the Airline and some other countries have grounded the accident aircraft type in their operations. This is to assure the public that NCAA will continue to ensure that safety regulations are strictly adhereD to for the safety of all in Nigeria. Our heart is with the Airline and families of the victims of the accident."

Boeing Promises to Update Flight Control System

In a related development, world's second biggest aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, announced late Monday that it would update flight control systems on its 737 Max 8 commercial jetliners after the plane was involved in two deadly accidents in the past five months.

According to The Washington Post, the move came hours after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an advisory mandating specific "design changes" noT later than April 2019.

The report said that for months Boeing has faced harsh criticism from pilot groups, which took issue with a decision to update the plane's flight controls without detailing the changes in pilot training.

"Boeing has been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on development, planning and certification of the software enhancement, and it will be deployed across the 737 Max fleet in the coming weeks," the company wrote. "The update also incorporates feedback received from our customers."

Meanwhile, losses from Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines have been speculated to be between $50 million and $60 million, Willis Towers Watson (WTW), an insurance firm disclosed yesterday.

WTW is an Irish-domiciled global multinational risk management insurance brokerage and advisory company.

The firm dates back to 1828 and is the third largest insurance broker in the world.

According to a Reuters report, the global insurance brokerage and risk management firm says it is the insurance broker for Ethiopian Airlines.

The Nigerian victims were identified as a popular Nigerian-born Canadian professor and writer, Pius Adesanmi, and Ambassador Abiodun Bashua, a former Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, Sudan.

According to an insurer, major insurance covers for aircraft are the hull all risks, passenger and passenger baggage legal liability, third party legal liability, and crew personal accident.

The hull all risks indemnify against accidental loss or damage to the aircraft, excluding when the aircraft is on the ground, taxing or is moored.

Families of those killed aboard EthiopiaN Airlines flight 302 must wait at least five days to begin receiving some victims' remains, the company said yesterday, though the identification of others is expected to take much longer.

With Agency Reports

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