Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said Thursday that Aero Contractors and FirstNation, which had announced suspension of flight operations due to suffocating economic policies of the Federal government, only quit the market temporarily to enable them undertake necessary operational overhaul.
The apex aviation agency also dismissed sundry claims that some airlines are winding down their operations due to the economic situation in the country.
Aero Contractors had on Monday announced the suspension of their scheduled operations while First Nation Airlines had not been operational for a couple of days.
According to a statement from NCAA, one of the airlines, Aero Contractors Ltd., at present has only one serviceable aircraft and this in contradiction to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARS) which stipulates that no airline operator shall carry out schedule commercial operation with only one aircraft. The minimum acceptable number is three aircraft.
Director General of the NCAA, Captain Usman Mukhar who signed the statement further said “In other words, any airline with one aircraft is in contravention of the Authority’s regulations therefore cannot be adjudged to be capable of providing safe operation. The only option available is to suspend your operations temporarily while other aircraft arrive in due course.”
“However, NCAA’s Regulations provides a window for such operator to embark on non-schedule operations in the interim.”
Aero in a statement through its media consultant, Simon Tumba also sent a statement stating that the airline has not shut down operations but suspended scheduled operations stating further that the Rotary Wing (helicopter and Dash 8 charter) and MRO are still in operations.
On First Nation Airlines, the DG in the statement said the airline part is in the middle of an Engine Replacement Programme for one of its aircraft.
“The First Nation Airlines on its part is in the middle of an Engine Replacement Programme for one of its aircraft. Another aircraft is due for mandatory maintenance as its allowable by the Regulatory Authority. In these circumstances, these airlines clearly cannot continue to undertake schedule operations, hence the inevitable recourse to self-regulatory suspension.”
Managing Director of the airline Kayode Odukoya confirmed as much in a telephone conversation with Nigerianflightdeck.com earlier today stating that what was done was voluntary to ensure maintenance took place.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in turn said that on no account will it compromise safety and security of airline operations in the airspace.
“Every facet of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARS) and Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) must be adhered to with due diligence. In addition, everything has been put in place to continue to ensure compliance.”