…Says Aircraft Not In Its Custody
…Assures Operator Of A Date In Court
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has stated that it was not aware that TopBrass disputed aircraft two Dash-8 Q-300s with registration number 5N-MSN 61TBB and 5N-TBC with MSN 614 were tampered with because the aircraft were not in the custody of the regulatory body.
This is just as NCAA said that the agency would have a date with TopBrass in court
The Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, stated this yesterday in an interview with aviation correspondents at the agency’s headquarters, Aviation House, Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA),Lagos.
He opined that NCAA as responsible organisation would not discuss a case that was already in court.
According to him,” First of all, I am not in the know of any tampering of any aircraft because the company did not put its aircraft under the watch of NCAA and I believe that as a responsible organisation, not to be discussing a case that is before the court. I am surprised that TopBrass is being mentioned everywhere. We will respect the court. We will wait until the outcome of the judgment before we will make any pronouncement.”
The NCAA boss contended that however, that Nigeria is a signatory to the Cape Town Convention, which helps especially African countries to be able to get access to lease of aircraft, adding that in the process, there are procedures, and that whoever that is leasing signs an adherence, which allows the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to de-register aircraft when there are defaults.
He added that Top Brass signed indemnity with civil aviation authority and this allows the regulatory body to take action when there is default.
In his words, “It is very surprising that today NCAA has been dragged to court severally by this person, who signed voluntarily and it is the same person that is making the allegation. So, we will meet in court.”
The Director General’s reaction followed the institution of contempt case against NCAA by the Chief Executive of Top Brass, Capt. Roland Iyayi on the allegation that the agency was aware that its aircraft packed at Aero Hangar were tampered with and did not do anything as the CAA.
Recalled that the Iyayi had stated that the removal of aircraft brake, propellers and engine forced TopBrass to institute a contempt case against the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Engr. Saleh Dunoma, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Usman Muhtar and SeaGold Investment Nigeria Limited, represented by Capt. Baba Muhammed and the Managing Director of Aero, Capt. Ado Sanusi.
On whether the refusal by NCAA to reveal the names of airlines that were recently sanctioned for not complying with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) was part of the rules, Muhtar explained that it was not part of the rules and that the objective of the agency was not to bring the operations of any operator, but to ensure compliance with NCARs.
According to him, “It is not part of the rules not to mention.The aim of sanction is not to bring down any operator or service provider, it is to ensure compliance with the civil aviation regulation of which all stakeholders were brought in to make their inputs before being made into law. The Civil Aviation Authority(CAA) is a custodian of these regulations to ensure enforcement of these regulations. It is in the interest of the operator and that of the general public. So, we are not hiding any name because we want to hide, but what is very important is that as part of the critical elements, by the aid of ICAO, we are expected to resolve safety concerns and we do that sometimes with enforcement, sanctions and warning, depending on what happened.”
“The most important thing is that we want compliance and we try to work with operators to ensure they don’t get into situation whereby they have to go into severe penalties,” he said.
When the Director General was reminded that First Nation’s name when it was sanction by NCAA, he said, “As I said again, the essence is not to bring down anybody. Fist Nation at a time was a regular Air Operators’ Certificate(AOC) holder doing scheduled flight and at a time, Nigerians were asking where they were and why they were being downgraded. First of all, they know the requirements to operating scheduled service, but as a safety measure, they allowed them to operate provided they remained safe. That was why we had to do extra work. All hands were on deck for the number of months they operated below the minimum and we thank God the period did not witness any mishap. However, there is a limit to tolerance. We had to downgrade them to non-schedule service and people were certainly asking questions about their operations. All what we are most concerned about is safety and security.”