The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has said that it supports the indefinite suspension placed on the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) of local airline, FirstNation Airways.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had on May 11, suspended the airline’s licence for carrying out unauthorised and illegal operations.
NUATE’s General Secretary, Olayinka Abioye, on Monday disclosed to reporters that the suspension of the airline’s AOC, which came albeit belatedly, was very good for the industry.
Abioye alleged that this was because the airline was operating with only one aircraft.
He said, “This has been long expected. Operating one aircraft as a scheduled flier is a violation of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (Nig.CARS) 2015.’’
Abioye noted that the airline ought to have focused on charter services alone instead of engaging in the illegality of commercial flight operations without the prerequisite requirement.
The NUATE scribe called on NCAA to live up to its statutory responsibilities of regulating the industry by not allowing external forces to influence its decisions.
NCAA’s General Manager, Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye, had on Sunday confirmed the suspension of the airline’s operations.
He said the suspension was conveyed to the airline through a letter signed by the Director General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman with reference no. NCAA/DG/CSLA/RM/1-06/18/2304 and dated May 11, 2018.
Meanwhile, FirstNation Airways spokesperson, Rasheed Yusuff, said that the suspension was not safety-related as the operating aircraft and crew held the relevant safety critical approvals and authorisations.
Yusuff disclosed that FirstNation Airways had complied with the NCAA’s directive but would seek reconsideration and review of the said suspension.
He said, “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 governments’ policy has 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.
“We will cooperate with NCAA in good faith to address all concerns and the alleged infractions to reach a resolution.’’
Yusuff said that the suspension was not in the interest of the nation as the airline’s operation achieved above industry dispatch reliability of over 95 percent.
He said that it was reputed for on-time performance and scheduled integrity.