Business Hilights
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NCAA shuts down FirstNation Airways over claims of illegal commercial operations

The leadership of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has announced immediate suspension of operating licence of FirstNation Airways over alleged illegal commercial operations in the country.

In a letter to that effect, the federal regulatory agency averred that 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 memo with reference number NCAA/DG/CSLA/RM/1-06/18/2304 dated May 11, 2018, showed that it’s Air Operating Certificate (AOC) of the airline remains indefinitely suspended.

Business Hilights recalls that FirstNation Airways operations was last year downgraded by the NCAA over its consistent use of an aircraft, contrary to at least two airplanes mandated by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations.

Whereas last year’s downgrading restricted the airline to chartered operations only, pending an improvement in its capacity for scheduled services, the agency however, based its action on the fact that the airline did not have at least two airworthy aircraft capable of servicing its approved schedule as required by Part 9.1.1.6 (b) (2) (ii) of Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (Nig.CARS) 2015.

Otherwise, FirstNation’s AOC was, upon renewal, restricted to non-scheduled operation, (charter) only.

In his remarks, image maker of NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, noted that the airline, however, “continued to embark on scheduled operations with advertisement of its services and sold tickets at its Check-in counters in Lagos and Abuja Airports”.

“The authority 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 9.1.1.4(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 authority has therefore determined that, pursuant to Section 35 (2), (3) (a) (ii) and (4) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006, FirstNation 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,” he said.

Business Hilights gathered that part of the position of NCAA while handing down the AOC suspension order was a mandate to return the certificate to the NCAA’s Director of Operations and Training within seven days.