Nigeria: More Woes for Passengers As NCAA Slams Fresh Suspension On Max Air

About two weeks after resuming operation, Max Air, one of the nation’s domestic carriers, has suspended its operation again.

The suspension, it was learnt, was slammed on it by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) over failure to close some of the gaps identified in the recently conducted audit of the airline.

The NCAA had previously in June through a letter NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/363, suspended Parts A3 and D43 with regards to the operation of Max Air’s Boeing 737 aircraft type with immediate effect.

The suspension was due to several life-threatening occurrences that involved the Boeing B737 aircraft classics.

Following the completion of the airline audit by the NCAA, the airline announced it has returned to service on Sunday, July 30, 2023.

But about two weeks after, the NCAA slammed a fresh suspension on the airline, leaving hundreds of its passengers stranded across the country.

Though there was no official confirmation from the NCAA as of press time, sources said the latest suspension was due to the failure of the airline to comply with some of the observations in the audit.

In the letter announcing fresh suspension dated August 11, 2023, the NCAA said, “You may recall that the Authority was reviewing the result of the Audit as contained in the aforementioned letter items (1), (2), (3) and (4) when a relief was granted for you to operate based on the assessment of the mitigating factors.

“Based on the in-depth review of both level one (1) findings and the mitigating factors, it was revealed that Max Air has twenty (20) level 1 and eight (8) level 2 findings and the mitigating factors did not take care of all the twenty (20) level 1 findings.

“In view of the above, the Authority hereby suspends the privileges of the A3 and D43 Parts of the Operations Specifications for B737 aircraft type with immediate effect until all the twenty (20) level 1 findings have been satisfactorily closed. Whilst the eight (8) level 2 findings will be closed within a period of 90 days.”

An official of the airline who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity said while the management is making frantic efforts to address the issue without much delay, the suspension appears indefinite.

“As I am talking to you, we really don’t have an idea when this is going to be sorted. But I know the management is also working to resolve the matter.”

The latest suspension of Max Air came a few days after Azman Air formally announced suspension of its operation over lack of operating aircraft which has further compounded the woes of passengers especially on the Northern routes.

“Now as I am talking to you, there is no flight from Kano to Lagos in the morning again because of this Max Air exit which we hope would be temporary,” said a frequent passenger on the Lagos-Kano route.

Max Air serves hinterlands in the North and with its exit many of the Northern routes would remain closed amidst impending hike in air fares by the few airlines still operating in the North.

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