Contaminated Aviation Kerosine popularly known as Jet A1 have reportedly flooded airports in Lagos, Kano and Abuja.
Vanguard reports that the circulation of contaminated fuel has led to the suspension of all Boeing 737 aircraft belonging to Max Air last week by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, after a huge volume of water was discovered in the fuel tank of one of its aircraft.
The authority had blamed the airlines and pilots of the development, insisting that they are responsible for the quality of fuel dispensed into their aircraft tanks. In reaction to the incident, the Chairman of United Nigeria Airline, UNA, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, called on the NCAA, to conduct more acceptable audit of the fuel suppliers across the country.
Meanwhile, the NCAA in an All Operator’s Letter, alerted operators of the risks and hazards associated with aircraft refuelling. A team of investigators have been dispatched to Lagos, Kano and Abuja, where the airline had refueled prior to the incident.
The AOL085, signed by the Director of Airworthiness Standards of NCAA, Gbolahan Abatan, an engineer with reference number, NCAA/DAWS/AD.1104/A0L085, reads:
“One of the most important topics in aviation safety is aircraft refueling safety procedures and precautions. It is the ground handling operation with the highest risk factor as compared to other operations, There have been many flight accidents in history caused by fuel contamination resulting in abnormal operation of aircraft engines. Water is a major contaminant, amongst others.
In recent times, the NCAA has been receiving mandatory occurrence reports from airlines and other aircraft operators with issues related to water being found in the aircraft fuel tank of the aircraft. Of recent is the report of a significant amount of water drained from the fuel tank of a Boeing 737 aircraft that had a fuel indication and gauge malfunction in-fight,” the letter said
The NCAA advised all airlines and operators to improve their refueling procedures as documented in their maintenance control manual refueling manual and fuel suppliers operation manual quality control manual
The procedures, it stated, include inspection of aircraft refueling equipment by ground staff with a visual inspection of fuel hose, gauges, tires and the overall body of the truck. The NCAA also called for testing, and checking of jet fuel quality before refueling by ground staff with the primary concern being the presence of water in the fuel.