A Boeing 737-400 operated by Nigeria-based Max Air had multiple tires burst upon landing at Abuja Airport on Sunday. The incident forced authorities to close the airport briefly, allowing crews to remove the plane from the runway.

Once the aircraft came to a stop, a small fire near the gear well occurred. Video recorded by a passenger onboard was posted on social media showing the airport's fire services attending to the aircraft.

Details of the incident

In a statement, Max Air confirmed the incident.

“On May 7th, 2023, a Max Air flight with 143 passengers and 01 infant on board, departing Yola around 14:05, was scheduled to arrive in Abuja at 15:00. However, the aircraft experienced two tire bursts on landing Abuja, and the emergency response team quickly responded at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.”

According to the Aviation Herald, the 737-400, under the registration 5N-MBD, burst one tire when it departed from Yola. When it landed in Abuja, crews reported that both of the left main gears had also busted. The plane was disabled on the airport's only runway, prompting authorities to close the airport and remove the aircraft.

Photos show the plane's left gear lodged into the runway, completely missing a rubber tire. The gear dug into the runway's surface, leaving a trail behind. A small gear fire broke out and was likely due to the gear rubbing into the runway.

Max Air Boeing 737-400 tire burst.
Photo: Max Air
Max Air Boeing 737-400 tire burst.
Photo: Max Air

The airport's fire personnel attended the scene as a water truck sprayed directly onto the plane. Two other firefighters are seen assisting another firefighter who manually sprays water on the plane with a hose.

"The airline would like to extend its appreciation to the airport authorities, emergency services, and all relevant agencies who responded promptly and professionally to ensure the safety of all passengers and crew on board," the carrier said.

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Commitment to safety

All passengers evacuated from the aircraft safely, and no injuries were reported. Six crew members were also onboard the plane.

"We are pleased to report that all passengers and crew on board the aircraft are safe and sound," the carrier explained. "The airline has taken all necessary steps to ensure that the passengers are comfortable and are being taken care of during this time. They have been conveyed to the arrival terminal with their luggage and belongings."

Management also noted that the airline prioritizes safety and thanked the passengers for being patient during the incident.

"Max Air is committed to providing safe and reliable air travel to all its passengers. We thank all the passengers for their patience and understanding for what transpired," management said.

How long do aircraft tires last?

Airplane tires may look similar to car tires but are very different. According to Let's Talk Science, the tires are typically filled with nitrogen, a non-flammable gas, and are made with more than just one layer of rubber. Nitrogen is used to prevent the rubber from oxidizing or breaking down over time, and three layers of rubber are used to make the tire more robust and more resistant to impacts with the ground.

Tires used on aircraft can typically withstand around 500 landings before they need to be repaired. In most cases, the top layer is peeled off and replaced, which is a much cheaper alternative to buying other expensive parts of the tire.

Source: The Aviation Herald, Let's Talk Science