An aircraft, Fokker 100, owned by IRS airlines crashed yesterday in Niger Republic on its way back to Nigeria after C (maintenance) checks, THISDAY reports.

Although information relating to the crash was sketchy as at the time of going to press, the only two persons on-board the aircraft, the pilot and an engineer, survived the crash.

IRS Airlines, which is one of the indigenous carriers that has operated for a long time, stopped scheduled services last October due to technical problems with its fleet.

The airline, which operated three Fokker 100 aircraft, stopped operation when its aircraft developed hydraulic problem while landing at the Kaduna airport last year, prompting the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to ground its operations.

The airline successfully carried a C check in one of its aircraft and was waiting for the return of the second aircraft that was taken for another C check for a long time, but it crashed in Niger Republic, few minutes before it could enter Nigeria’s airspace.

An official of the airline said the crash had done a death blow to the IRS, which had planned to resume operation on the arrival of the ill-fated aircraft, which would have doubled the number of its aircraft to meet the minimum requirement of NCAA.

“I have not heard about the crash before now but I know that we are waiting for this aircraft to arrive today (yesterday) so that we could resume operation immediately. We already have one that had gone through C check; we are just waiting for this one. So if it has crashed it will be a great setback to us,” lamented the IRS official.

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