Nigeria has had a series of unfortunate domestic plane crashes which have claimed thousands of lives over the years prompting many to question why several domestic flights have gone down within a short period of time. It is quite sad that thousands of innocent people had to die to finally awaken the issue of the gross incompetence of the Nigerian aviation system. It has been revealed that Nigeria’s commercial airlines are operating the oldest fleet of aircraft in the whole of Africa which is quite frightening to know.
Most of these aircrafts which are mostly Tokunbo/second-hand aircraft, are either due for retirement or should have already been retired and taken out of service at least some years earlier. The factors which determine the retirement of aeroplanes bother around pressurisation cycles, hours of flights and fuel efficiency. It is quite appalling to know that despite having a structured aviation agency in place Nigerian airlines still freely operate such old planes which are very much apparent but yet nothing is done about them. These old planes, most of which have been used for over two decades could end up malfunctioning leading to fatalities the country cannot afford to have again. Although, experts have said the age of Nigerian planes is not an issue, the history of plane crashes in the country cannot easily be ignored in that regard and it is only right that the Nigerian federal government takes it more seriously. A recent study ordered by the International Air Transport Association IATA and conducted by SGI Aviation stated that the average retirement age of a freighter aircraft is 32.5 years and that of a passenger aircraft 25.1 years.
Below are top 5 Nigerian airlines still operating the oldest aircraft found across the whole of Africa:
- Dana Airlines has the oldest fleet of aircraft with its youngest delivered in October 2014 now 22.3 years old while its oldest is 28.1 years old. Dana airline which had one of the most horrific plane crash in Nigeria’s aviation history on the 3rd of June, 2012 claiming 153 lives in total still managed to resume operations again still running the same old planes within the country.
- Air Peace Airlines which is currently one of Nigeria’s top leading airlines has 20 aircraft that averages 19 years. Thirteen of its Boeing 737 have an average age of 22.3 years, two of its Boeing 777an average age of 18.1 years, and two of its Boeing 737-500 fall between 25 and 26 years old.
- Medview Airlines has a 16.7 years old Boeing 777-200(5N-BVY), a 23.6 years old Boeing 767, and three Boeing 737-400 with an average age of 20.9 years.
- Aero Contractors which is controlled by AMCON and Nigeria’s oldest airline with a peerless safety record has nine Boeing 737 aircraft’s with an average age of 26.5 years and two 17.8 years De Havilland Canada DHC-8 Dash 8 planes.
- Azman Air Services has two Boeing 737-300 and two Boeing 737-500 with an average of 20.9 years.
- Nigeria’s Arik Air which has been ranked the safest airline in the country has the youngest fleet of 23 aircraft which were all bought new and all have an average age of 11 years. They include four Bombardier CRJ-900 planes that are now 12.6 years old, one Bombardier CRJ-1000 now five years old, a 10.4-year-old Airbus A340 and thirteen Boeing 737 with an average age of 12.1 years.
In comparison with some of the top airlines in Africa, Ethiopia Airlines which is the largest in Africa has a total number of 104 aircraft which include an average age of 3.4 years, 5.2 years, 7.9 years, 1.4 years, 5.4 years old and its oldest at 16.3 years old. Kenya Airways has 39 aircraft’s with an average age of 6.8 years. South Africa Airways fleets have an average age of 11 years with its oldest being three 27.5 years old, while Rwandair’s 13 aircraft are at an average age of 7.1 years.
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