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The aircraft that crashed in Nigeria over the weekend, killing 106 people, was more than 32 years old, according to the Serb national airline that once owned the plane.
Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro - The aircraft that crashed in Nigeria over the weekend, killing 106 people, was more than 32 years old, according to the Serb national airline that once owned the plane.
Serbia's JAT Airways said Monday that Nigeria's privately owned Sosoliso Airlines had bought the McDonnell Doublas DC-9-30 along with three others in 2000.
The plane still had a Serbian registration code - YU-AJH - on its tail when it went down on Saturday in stormy weather on approach to the southern Nigerian oil-industry centre of Port Harcourt, JAT said.
Only three of the 110 people on board survived. Many of the victims were schoolchildren travelling home for the holidays.
Sosoliso was established in 1994 and began domestic flights in July 2000 in a technical partnership with JAT Airways.
JAT sold the ageing planes to Sosoliso because they could no longer meet most European standards due to loud noise levels produced by the jet's two engines.
JAT spokesperson Zeljka Stojanovic said the DC-9 that crashed had been delivered to JAT by McDonnell Douglas in February 1973 and had served with the former Yugoslav Airlines for 27 years.
JAT mechanics who had maintained Sosoliso's aircraft for several years in Nigeria finally left that country in 2004, she said. "Now, the DC-9s are all theirs," she said.
JAT's pilots also flew for the Nigerian carrier until 2003. Stojanovic said they had complained about poor safety and air control standards in the African country.
Nigerian airports have come under criticism in recent months following a string of near-misses and an incident in which an Air France passenger jet crashed into a herd of cows on the runway at Port Harcourt. - Sapa-AP
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