The Nigerian government has banned Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircraft from operating in its airspace.
The decision was announced by the Minister of Aviation (State), Hadi Sirika, at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which held Wednesday in Abuja.
The meeting was chaired by President the Muhammadu Buhari.
Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, Mr Sirika said the decision follows the recent crash involving the aircraft type owned by Ethiopian Airline.
The crash killed all 157 persons on board on Sunday morning. The flight was heading for Nairobi, Kenya.
The Ethiopian crash occurred about five months after Indonesia’s Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 Max also crashed into sea killing all on board after taking off.
Mr Sirika said he had earlier tweeted that there was no cause for alarm as no operator in Nigeria was using the type of airplane.
He said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has already issued an advisory statement saying “that nobody should fly out of Nigeria or into Nigeria using the 737 Max pending the determination of the actual cause of the crash in Ethiopia and also pending the outcome of the response of the manufacturer themselves which is Messrs Boeing”.
The minister said regardless of the enormous safety records of the 737, it has caused concern for the world of aviation.
“We have issued directives that no operators with 737 (8) or (9) should operate into or out of our airports,” he said.
The decision by Nigerian government follows a similar decision taken by several other countries.
NAN reported Tuesday that more nations grounded Boeing 737 MAX planes on Tuesday, joining others across the globe, after a second deadly accident in just five months.
The EU closed its airspace to the troubled Boeing model. It noted that the “exact causes” of the Lion Air crash were still being investigated.
“Since that action, another fatal accident occurred,” EASA said, referring to Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines disaster.
“At this early stage of the investigation, it cannot be excluded that similar causes may have contributed to both events,” the agency said.
Fleets of the best-selling workhorse plane were also grounded by airlines as safety concerns swirled, sending Boeing shares tumbling another seven percent in Tuesday trading and wiping billions more off its market value.
On Sunday, a new Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 went down six minutes into a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all 157 people on board.
In October, in a similar circumstance, a Lion Air jet of the same model crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 people shortly after takeoff from Jakarta.
The widening airspace closures puts pressure on Boeing, the world’s biggest planemaker, to prove the MAX planes are safe.
The full extent of the impact on international travel routes was unclear, although there are some 350 MAX 8 planes currently in service around the world with more than 5,000 on order.
India late Tuesday joined the list of countries to close its airspace to the jet, a day after saying it had imposed additional interim safety requirements for ground engineers and crew for the aircraft.
Elsewhere, Turkish Airlines, one of the largest carriers in the world, said it was suspending its 12 MAX aircraft from Wednesday, until “uncertainty” was clarified.
Low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle, South Korea’s Eastar Jet and South Africa’s Comair also said they would halt flights.
On Twitter, US President Donald Trump weighed in on the situation, writing: “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly.”
“Pilot are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT,” he wrote, referring to the prestigious university in Massachusetts.
Additional reports by PREMIUM TIMES