By Sade Williams
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) of First Nation Airways indefinitely.
This suspension was conveyed to the Airline via a letter with reference no. NCAA/DG/CSLA/RM/1-06/18/2304 dated 11th May, 2018, signed by the Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman.
A statement by the NCAA and signed by Mr. Sam Adurogboye, its spokesman, said the letter titled Notice Of Suspension Of Air Operators Certificate, was delivered to the Airline on Friday, 11th May, 2018 and First Nation Airways has acknowledged receipt.
According to the Authority, the suspension is sequel to the flagrant and continuous violation of the terms and conditions of issuance of its AOC by the Airline thereby carrying out unauthorised and illegal operations.
The letter revealed that when the AOC of First Nation Airways expired, the airline did not have at least two airworthy aircraft capable of servicing its approved schedule as required by Part 22.214.171.124(b)(2) (ii) of Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (Nig.CARS) 2015.
Consequently, the Airline’s Air Operators Certificate (AOC) was, upon renewal, restricted to non-scheduled operation, (Charter) only.
However, First Nation Airways embarked on scheduled operations with continuous advertisement of its services and sold tickets at its Check-in counters in Lagos and Abuja Airports.
The Authority said it had earlier notified the Airline that it was investigating these violations.
“Subsequently, by a letter dated 31st August 2017, the Airline was directed to stop the illegal operations forthwith, warning that failure to desist would lead to a suspension of its operating authorisation.
“On further investigation, it was discovered that the Airline had disregarded all warnings and continued with the unauthorised and illegal operations in violation of its AOC terms and conditions of issuance.
“This is contrary to the provisions of Part 126.96.36.199(d) of the Nig.CARS 2015 which provides that “Each AOC holder shall at all times, continue in compliance with the AOC terms and conditions of issuance, and maintenance requirements in order to hold that certificate”, the statement reads in part.
The Authority said it has therefore determined that, pursuant to Section 35(2),(3) (a) (ii) and (4) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006, First Nation Airways is no longer fit to operate air transport business under the authority of the AOC.
“Accordingly, the Airline’s AOC has been suspended indefinitely, with effect from the 11th May, 2018, when it received the notice.
In addition, the operators of the Airline are expected to return the AOC to the Authority’s Director of Operations and Training within seven (7) days of receiving the letter.
However, it should be noted that anytime the Airline demonstrates ability and willingness to comply with the extant regulations, the Authority shall review the Airline’s operations and restore the AOC to enable it commence operations.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) wishes to restate its zero tolerance for violations of the Nig.CARS and shall continue to enforce compliance through application of appropriate sanctions for any infractions”, the Authority added.