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.