Max Air: NCAA to investigate fuel suppliers

Bisola David
Bisola David
Marketer denies supplying Max Air with contaminated fuel

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority announced that it would look into the country’s aviation fuel suppliers to identify the cause of fuel contamination in Max Air’s Boeing 737-300 aircraft.

The Director-General of Civil Aviation, Capt. Musa Nuhu stated that it was crucial to look into the cause of fuel contamination in the aircraft tank during a Zoom discussion with aviation journalists on Thursday night.

Nuhu added that the NCAA grants licenses to fuel marketers and would not think twice to revoke those licenses if necessary.

Recall that on July 7, 2023, the Auxiliary Power Unit at Yola Airport was shut down due to fuel contamination in the main fuel tanks of a Max Air B737-300 with the registration number 5N-MHM.

According to reports, fuel was allegedly dumped on the tarmac in Yola as soon as the plane touched down at Yola Airport, and “multiple drums of water” were allegedly collected from the plane’s two tanks.

The NCAA mandates that fuel suppliers perform a “water check” using specialized strips that transform color when they come into contact with water.

Before the contaminated fuel was found in the airline’s fuel tank at Yola Airport, Nuhu claimed that the airline had purchased fuel at the airports of Lagos, Abuja, and Kano.

Nuhu said that the top regulatory authority in the civil aviation industry will not hesitate to suspend the fueler if it is proven to be ineligible.

However, he added that the NCAA would look into Max Air’s fuel and bowers practices to determine whether they were involved in their Standard Operating Procedures.

Asserting that NCAA could not be present at every airport in the country to oversee their activities, Nuhu stressed that it is the obligation of the airlines and the pilots to examine the quality of the fuel they purchase from oil marketers and put in their tanks.

“We are going to suspend any fuelers that we identify to be having issues,” he declared. We grant them licenses, and we’ll review all the oil marketers in the Nigerian aviation industry.

“We have implemented the necessary steps by suspending Max Air until these steps are resolved. Before allowing them to fly again, we will make sure that all of the problems are fixed.

“We are also looking into the fuel suppliers to make sure they are not the issue. Max Air might have been a victim of the fuel provider, and the tainted fuel entered their aircraft at some point during storage, fueling, or another process.

Additionally, the DGCA announced that the regulatory body would meet with the regulatory body overseeing the oil and gas sector in the coming days to inform them of the norms and regulations for the aviation industry.

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