Regulators have grounded Air Nigeria, the second largest carrier in Nigeria, on Wednesday due to safety concerns although the airline’s chief maintains that he stopped flights to “reorganize”.
The halting of Air Nigeria flights — and the confusion surrounding it — offers a worrying portrait about the state of aviation in Africa’s most populous nation after another airline crashed a passenger jet on June 3, killing all 153 people on board and others on the ground.
While officials continue to investigate the cause of that Dana Air crash in Lagos, other airlines continue to fly in Nigeria with older planes and far more questionable financing. And despite the fact that Nigeria now has the top U.S. aviation rating, passengers remain hesitant about flying in the wake of the crash.
Harold Demuren, the director-general of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority, said Wednesday that Air Nigeria would be able to resume operations after investigators concluded a series of safety checks on the airline’s planes.
He said the checks were necessary after engineers attached to the private air carrier had been on strike and had not attended to the company’s fleet of 11 aircraft, mostly Boeing 737s.