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Fuel contamination: Max Air remains grounded as NCAA investigates fuel suppliers Fuel contamination: Max Air remains grounded as NCAA investigates fuel suppliers

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said the Boeing 737 aircraft series in the fleet of Max Air remains grounded pending the outcome of an investigation into the fuel contamination incident in the tank of one of its airplanes.

NCAA also said that it would investigate aviation fuel suppliers in the country’s aviation industry to determine the source of fuel contamination and find out their level of compliance to industry standards on fuel supply.

Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), stated this on Thursday night in a Zoom meeting with aviation Journalists.

Nuhu said that it was important to investigate the source of aviation fuel contamination in the industry in order to prevent a recurrence.

Nuhu explained that the NCAA issues the fuel marketers’ licenses and would not hesitate to withdraw the licenses issued if any one of them is found wanting.

Recall that Max Air B737-300 with the registration number: 5N-MHM had fuel contamination in the main fuel tanks, leading to the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) shut down on the ground at Yola Airport on July 7, 2023.

Reports claimed that immediately after the aircraft landed at Yola Airport, fuel was dumped on the tarmac in Yola, while “multiple drums of water” were collected from both tanks of the aircraft, which had just landed.

The NCAA requires fuel suppliers to carry out what it calls a “water check,” using special strips that change colour when in contact with water.

Nuhu explained that the airline had purchased fuel at Lagos, Abuja and Kano airports before the contaminated fuel was discovered in its fuel tank at Yola Airport.

According to him, the NCAA would carry out an extensive investigation into the incident to know where the contaminated fuel was purchased by the airline.

He, however, said that the NCAA would investigate the bowers and fuel procedures of Max Air to know if they were complicit in their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

Nuhu emphasised that it is the responsibility of pilots and the airlines to check the quality of fuel intake from oil marketers in their tanks, maintaining that NCAA could not be at all the airports nationwide to supervise their operations.

He said: “Any fuellers that we identify as having issues, we are going to suspend them. We license them and we are going to review all the oil marketers in the Nigerian aviation industry. The airline (Max Air) took fuel in Lagos, Abuja and Kano. We are looking at the bowers and fuel procedures of the airline. We want to ensure that everything is okay and within the standard of civil aviation

“I expect to get a report from the fueling stations to see if there is any problem. Any fueler that has identified issues, we are going to suspend it from supplying fuel to the airlines until we are satisfied and we will also consult with the petroleum regulatory agency in Nigeria to ensure that all these matters are resolved.

“We have taken the appropriate measures by suspending Max Air until these measures are fixed. We will ensure all the issues are resolved before we can allow them to fly.

“We are also investigating the fuel suppliers to ensure that the problem is not with them. Max Air might be a victim of the fuel supplier and during their storage, or fueling or whenever, the contaminated fuel got into their aircraft.”

Nuhu also explained that the NCAA would on Friday, issue All Operator Letter (AOL) to all the indigenous airlines to alert them on their responsibility on fuel supply.

Nuhu, however, assured the traveling public that the NCAA would continue to ensure the safety of flight operations in Nigeria through its conduct.

Besides, the DGCA said that the regulatory body would in the next few days hold a meeting with the regulatory body in the oil and gas sector and enlighten them about the requirements and standards for the aviation industry.

Source: independent.ng