The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) 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.
The letter titled Notice of Suspension of Air Operators Certificate was delivered to the Airline on Friday, 11th May, 2018, it was learnt.
First Nation is said to have acknowledged receipt of the letter.
The decision came after months of operating scheduled flights with one aircraft in violation of civil aviation regulations and the terms and conditions of issuance of its AOC which stipulate minimum of two aircraft to carry out scheduled operations.
This requirement was explicitly by Part 126.96.36.199(b)(2) (ii) of Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (Nig.CARS) 2015.
Daily Trust reports that the airline operated with one aircraft throughout most part of last year prompting the NCAA to downgrade its operations at the time of renewal of its AOC to non-scheduled operations (Charter) only with effect from August 31, 2017.
However, the NCAA in a statement by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye noted that 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 NCAA said further investigation showed 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 188.8.131.52(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, 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” Adurogboye said.
By the suspension, the operators of the Airline are expected to return the AOC to the NCAA’s Director of Operations and Training within seven (7) days of receiving the letter.
It however added 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 statement said.