NCAA downgrades First Nation’s AOC to ATOL
Muhtar S. Usman, NCAA, DG
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), has downgraded First Nation Airways Air Operating Certificate, (AOC) to Air Tour Operator’s Licence, (ATOL).
By this action, the airline can only operate non-scheduled services which are charter operations.
Ideally the regulatory authority has demonstrated its determination to apply the rules strictly since the airline has been operating only one aircraft in the last one year.
According to the statutes an operator can only enjoy a scheduled service with a minimum of two serviceable aircraft in its fleet.
The airline can only return to scheduled service after meeting the requirement of at least two serviceable aircraft.
This news of the downgrading was unfolded by Capt. Muhtar Usman, the Director-General of NCAA, when he addressed journalists at the agency’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, MMA, Lagos.
Usman explained that the airline had scaled its operations from scheduled operator to non-scheduled, adding “that the statusquo would remain so until it improved its aircraft fleet to at least two to meet the requirements for scheduled services”.
The NCAA DG said: “Yes, they use one aircraft and they were on scheduled services, but the present station now is that the Air Operating Certificate, (AOC) of the status has been changed to non-scheduled service, which is charter service. So, they are no longer into scheduled service until they are able to meet the requirement for scheduled service.” Speaking also on the N33.5 million sanctions imposed on the airline some few months ago for safety negligence, Usman said the authority would work with the airline to ensure the penalty was paid.
He added that the essence of sanctioning any operator or organisation was not punitive, but to serve as a corrective measure to prevent recurrence.
“I will still reconfirm to you that whatever sanction we impose on any operator is in-line with Civil Regulation and it’s not punitive, but corrective.
“ FirstNation was sanctioned, it appealed, and the appeal, was upturned. So, we are still working with the airline to pay the sanction. We don’t want to cripple any operatior. If it is safety related, we will not waste time, but the payment is being worked out now,” Usman said.
On the visit of the America Federal Aviation Administration team to Nigeria to access the country’s civil aviation sector, the NCAA boss said the country would once again scale the hurdle, stressing that the regulatory agency was prepared to retain the Category One Status it attained in 2010.
He recalled that Nigeria attained the present status in 2010 and retained it in 2014 after a comprehensive audit of the industry.
He explained that the “FAA inspectors would focus on Personnel Licensing, International Operations and Airworthiness”,
He said: “NCAA has done a lot in the areas that we are expected to cover and not only for this audit, in our statutory responsibilities; safety, aviation security and also regulations.
“We have the new civil aviation bill, which is on its way to the National Assembly. The bill is to enhance the current Act of 2006 and it’s supposed to be in line with the new annexes of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Convention.
“We also amended our regulation, which is 2015 Civil Aviation Regulation. Re-organisation has also been going on to make sure the organisation continues to discharge its responsibilities as it should be, which is to be in line with ICAO.
“We want to continue to attract and retain qualified personnel in the industry in sufficient numbers to make sure we carry out the safety as required by ICAO.
“In the area of enforcement and compliance, we have done a lot. We make sure that our regulations, which are mainly safety, are enforced. Our sanctions are not supposed to be punitive, but corrective.
“We have been sanctioning where we need to sanction in order to correct and instil safety in the system and even security.
The FAA team is being led by Mr. Louis Avrez, International Technical Support, William Amoz, Aviation Safety Inspector, Benjamin Garrido, Frontline Manager, Airworthiness and L.P. Vanstory Ill, International Affairs.