Accessibility links

Nigeria Urged to Radically Fix Air Industry


Sunday's plane crash in Nigeria has again stirred a debate on air safety in the West African country. The government is under pressure carry out radical reforms of the sector.

The latest crash brings the death toll from the three air disasters in the last three years in Nigeria to more than 300.

Human error and bad weather were blamed for last December's crash of a DC-9 plane operated by Sosoliso Airlines. Some 107 people died in that accident.

Nigerian aviation officials are accusing the pilot of the ADC jet that went down, Sunday, of disobeying instructions to abort take off due to bad weather. However, most Nigerians reckon the local air industry is notoriously unsafe and needs a radical reform.

Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar says increasing aircraft checks could be a starting point for a robust reform of the troubled industry.

"There is a need for us to go further than what we have already done," he said. "Even if it comes to a daily check on aircraft departing from all our major airports on a daily basis, we need to do that to ensure better safety and also safety of lives of our passengers."

The government had promised radical reforms following a spate of crashes last year. Reuben Abati, a newspaper editor and commentator on national issues, says the government's inability to address serious shortcomings, is responsible for the continued crisis in the aviation industry.

"You will recall that last year, after the Bellview and Sosoliso crash, the presidency was so concerned that a summit was organized. And one of the major revelations of that exercise was the airlines were cutting corners, a lot of things being done that are untidy," he said. "And then also the president set up a committee which came up with over 100 recommendations, as to how the aviation sector can be upgraded. But you'll find out that not much progress has been made."

Officials say representatives of aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co. and engine maker Pratt & Whitney are expected in Nigeria, Tuesday, to help with the investigation.

The International Civil Aviation Organization is scheduled to conduct an audit of Nigerian airports, next week.

XS
SM
MD
LG