The Oasis Reporters
March 13, 2019
The two countries that late Professor Pius Adesanmi called home, Nigeria and Canada have joined other countries in banning the Boeing 737 Max planes from its airspace in the aftermath of the crash of an Ethiopian Boeing 737 Max 8 plane that killed all passengers on board.
Minister of Aviation (State), Hadi Sirika, announced the ban Wednesday in Abuja at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
So did Canada, also on Wednesday, grounding Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, citing potential safety concerns after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing MAX crashed on Sunday, killing 157 people including the Nigerian-Canadian, Professor Adesanmi and Lagos state born Ambassador Abiodun Bashua.
The move means the United States is now the only major country where the planes are now operating.
Boeing, the United States based aircraft manufacturer’s new Max model was certified to fly by the FAA in March 2017.
Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau told a news conference that Ottawa would stop 737 MAX 8 and 9 jets from leaving, arriving in or flying over Canada.
“This safety notice is effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice,” he said, adding he had decided to act after receiving fresh information earlier in the day.
The ban is notable, since Canada usually works very closely with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Garneau said there had been “absolutely no political pressure” from Washington after Canada informed it of the grounding.
Nigeria and Canada have thus joined countries in the EU, Ethiopia, China and Australia that have banned the Boeing model from its airspace until the manufacturer figures out a solution to the problem.
It will be recalled that Indonesia’s Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crashed about 5 months ago shortly after take off, killing everyone onboard.
Boeing’s Smallest Airliner, the 737 MAX 7, a variant of the make flown by Ethiopia Airlines, Max 8 is regarded as beautiful but sadly the plane’s good looks but ironically, this haven’t helped boost its popularity or ratings.
Satellite data suggested similarities between the flight profiles of the Ethiopian jet and that of a Lion Air plane of the same type that crashed in Indonesia last year, said the Canadian Aviation Minister. Both planes crashed shortly after takeoff.
“This is not conclusive, but it is something that points possibly in that direction and at this point we feel that threshold has been crossed and that is why we are taking these measures,” he said.
A U.S. official told Reuters the FAA was aware of the satellite data Garneau had cited, but called it inconclusive.
Air Canada, which operates 24 Boeing 737 MAX jets, said it was working to re-book passengers as quickly as possible. Rival WestJet Airlines Ltd, which operates 13 of the jets, said it would comply with the order.
The Air Canada Pilots Association, which represents more than 4,000 commercial pilots, said the decision was “important to ensure continued public confidence in aviation”.
However, no Nigerian carrier operates the model, according to Mr. Sirika. Although, Nigeria as a country has no national Carrier of it’s own. After spending several millions of dollars in designing a logo for a proposed Air Nigeria, Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika made a U-turn and announced the suspension of the project last year.
( With additional reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa, Allison Lampert in Montreal and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and James Dalgleish)