New Safety Rule Could Decimate Nigerian Airlines

 - July 30, 2012, 4:25 PM

Stella Oduah, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, told an audience at the recent Safety Conference of African Safety Ministers in Abuja that her department is considering reducing from 22 to 15 years the maximum allowable age of aircraft operated in commercial service in this West African country. Some experts believe such a rule could ground as many as 60 percent of the airliners currently operating in Nigeria.

Four of the country’s airlines would immediately be shut down while they searched for more recently manufactured aircraft to fly. Oduah’s remarks came less than two months after a Nigerian-registered MD-83 operated by Dana Air crashed on landing at Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport (DNMM), killing all 153 people on board. The accident aircraft (5N-RAM) had just turned 22 years old at the time of the crash.

Currently, the only exception to the 22-year rule is for general aviation aircraft.


When are they going to learn that the age of an aircraft is not the concern it is the maintenance and the crew performance. 1, 15 or 30 year old makes no odds if you don't have properly trained and operating crew and even then if you don't do the maintenance correctly you are just an accident waiting to happen.

All due respect to the Minister of Aviation in Nigeria but her background was accountancy in the Petroleum Industry. When will these countries learn that it is their safety oversight which is lacking and that has been allowing airlines to be slipshod themselves.

If crews were trained and licensed to FAA/EASA standards and the same with the maintenance people and they practised those standards there would be no problems.

Something is wrong and we all know what it is but in these PC times we do not want to say it, but the aircraft age is a good scapegoat for the press feeding frenzy. BTW the 15 year rule would eliminate most of the aircraft servicing Nigeria from Europe or maybe that is the idea. Personally I'll fly a UK registered 1943 Dakota before I would get on a new aircraft from an age restriction country, might take a bit of time but at least I would get there.

From my own point of view I would ban any aircraft from any state that has age restrictions from flying in airspace other than their own.

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