The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has taken the decision to suspend Max Air’s domestic flight operations indefinitely.
Max Air, one of Nigeria’s prominent airlines, has been facing safety concerns that have raised alarms within the industry. Journalist David Hundeyin recently uncovered alleged malpractices by airline operators, specifically highlighting issues surrounding Max Air, which has jeopardized the safety of Nigerian air travelers.
In a letter bearing the reference NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/363, the NCAA directed the immediate suspension of Parts A3 and D43, which pertain to the operation of Max Air’s Boeing 737 aircraft. Part A3 deals with the authorization of the airline’s aircraft, while Part D43 concerns the listing of aircraft in the Operations Specifications issued to Max Air Ltd. Consequently, all domestic operations of the airline will remain suspended until the regulatory agency decides to lift the ban.
The official letter, signed by Captain Ibrahim Bello Dambazau, Director of Operations Training & Licensing, on behalf of Director General of Civil Aviation Capt. Musa Nuhu, stated, “The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) hereby suspends Parts A3 (Aircraft Authorization) and D43 (Aircraft Listing) of the Operations Specifications issued to Max Air Ltd. with regards to the operations of the Boeing B737 aircraft type in your fleet.”
The suspension was implemented due to a series of incidents involving Max Air’s Boeing B737 aircraft, as outlined in the letter. One such incident occurred on May 7, 2023, when the airline’s Boeing 737-400 aircraft, registered as 5N-MBD, experienced the loss of its Number 1 Main Landing Gear (MLG) wheel between take-off at Yola Airport in Adamawa State and landing at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Nigeria.
Another incident involved fuel contamination of the main fuel tanks of the airline’s B737-300 aircraft, registered as 5N-MHM, leading to the shutdown of the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) while on the ground at Yola Airport on July 7, 2023.
Furthermore, on July 11, 2023, a take-off attempt by a Boeing 737-400 aircraft, with registration marks 5N-MBD, was aborted at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) due to high Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) indication.
On the same day, an air return was carried out by another aircraft, a B737-300 registered as 5N-MHM, to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) due to a duct overheat indication in the cockpit. The NCAA has formed a team of inspectors who will conduct an audit of Max Air’s operations.
The results of this audit must be deemed satisfactory by the Authority before considering the reinstatement of Max Air’s privileges and the resumption of operations involving the affected aircraft type.