By Sade Williams
Firstnation Airways on Sunday shed more lights on the status of its operations, saying it will seek reconsideration of the suspension of its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).
It also added that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s (NCAA) misconstrued its operations, saying it was ready to make available to the Authority, some facts as soon as possible.
The NCAA had announced the suspension of the airline’s AOC ‘ 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 NCAA in a 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 18.104.22.168(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”.
But a statement signed by Rasheed Yusuff for Firstnation said it had immediately complied with the directive insisting that its operations were misconstrued by the NCAA.
“We are reluctant to join issues, in the media with NCAA, as we believe that Regulation through media sensationalism will ultimately NOT serve the industry well. Except to reiterate that we respect regulations and have immediately complied with NCAA’s directive. It is also a matter of fact, that we presented two airworthy aircraft, to the Authority as far back as September 2017. It is therefore apparent that the context of our operation vis a vis compliance with the extant regulations and Government’s policy have been misconstrued.
“Be that as it may, we will seek reconsideration and review of the suspension, in the light of facts that will be made available to the Authorities. And will cooperate with NCAA in good faith, to address all concerns and the alleged infractions to reach resolution”, he said.
He added that the allegations were not safety related ones, saying its ‘operation achieved above industry dispatch reliability of over 95% and reputed for on time performance and schedule integrity and that the operating aircraft and crew hold the relevant, safety critical approvals and authorisations.
“The basis of NCAA’s decision is therefore apparently commercial. And in an Industry facing worsening Aircraft capacity constraints, the Authority should be forward looking and working with industry to facilitate policies that will endear industry growth, so as not to further limit and compromise passengers’ choice options across all segments. The national interest has not been served by this development.
“We remain committed to the highest level of safety standard in line with industry best practise. Firstnation is currently working assiduously on fleet expansion and confident that we will grow our fleet this year, 2018”, Yusuff added.