Nigerian president grounds two airlines after crashes

Nigerian president grounds two airlines after crashes

President Olusegun Obasanjo grounded two private domestic Nigerian airlines after two deadly plane crashes killed 224 people in seven weeks.He also announced a review of all aircraft flying in Nigeria.

Blaming corruption for some of the industry’s troubles, he said two experts from the International Civil Aviation Organisation would be brought in “to ensure the integrity of the inspection.” President Obasanjo announced the groundings after meeting with airline carriers and government regulators to discuss public concern at aviation accidents.Obasanjo read what appeared to be a February intelligence report detailing safety problems at the two grounded airlines, including planes experiencing landing gear trouble.It was not clear why those concerns had not been acted upon earlier.Attempts to reach officials at the grounded airlines were not immediately successful.One of the carriers grounded, Sosoliso Airlines, operated the 32-year-old McDonnell Douglas DC-9 that crashed Saturday in the southern city of Port Harcourt, killing 107 people, most of them schoolchildren heading home for the holidays.The plane’s previous owner, Serbia’s JAT Airways, said it did not meet European standards.The second grounded airline, Chanchangi Airlines, operated a plane that skidded off the runway in the main city of Lagos earlier this year and another craft that developed problems shortly after taking off from Abuja earlier this month and had to return to the capital.-Nampa-APPresident Obasanjo announced the groundings after meeting with airline carriers and government regulators to discuss public concern at aviation accidents.Obasanjo read what appeared to be a February intelligence report detailing safety problems at the two grounded airlines, including planes experiencing landing gear trouble.It was not clear why those concerns had not been acted upon earlier.Attempts to reach officials at the grounded airlines were not immediately successful.One of the carriers grounded, Sosoliso Airlines, operated the 32-year-old McDonnell Douglas DC-9 that crashed Saturday in the southern city of Port Harcourt, killing 107 people, most of them schoolchildren heading home for the holidays.The plane’s previous owner, Serbia’s JAT Airways, said it did not meet European standards.The second grounded airline, Chanchangi Airlines, operated a plane that skidded off the runway in the main city of Lagos earlier this year and another craft that developed problems shortly after taking off from Abuja earlier this month and had to return to the capital. -Nampa-AP

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