(Up Dated Breaking News)First Nation Suspends Operations, As NCAA Dismisses Airlines Fold Up Claims
First Nation Airways has technically suspended its operations in line with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARS), which stipulates that no airline operator shall carry out schedule commercial operation with only one aircraft.
The minimum acceptable number is three aircraft.
The suspension of operations by First Nation is coming few hours after Aero Contractors; the oldest airline in the country suspended its scheduled operations due to issues relating to debts and mismanagement.
First Nation Airlines suspension of flight operations was disclosed in an online statement signed by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman today.
According to the Director General explained that First Nation Airline is in the middle of an Engine Replacement Programme for one of its aircraft, while another aircraft is due for mandatory maintenance as its allowable by the regulatory authority.
“In these circumstances, these airlines clearly cannot continue to undertake schedule operations, hence the inevitable recourse to self regulatory suspension,” The DG said.
The regulatory body dismissed the insinuations making the rounds that some airlines are winding down their operations.
The Director General stated that on the contrary, these airlines were merely suspending their operations temporarily to enable them undertake certain operational overhaul and strengthen their overall operational outlay.
On Aero Contractors Limited, he said that presently the airline has only one serviceable aircraft and that this is in contradiction to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations NCARS.
He said that what this means is that any airline with one aircraft is in contravention of the authority’s regulations therefore cannot be adjudged to be capable of providing safe operation, adding that the only option available is to suspend your operations temporarily while other aircraft arrive in due course.
However, stated that NCAA’s regulations provide a window for such operator to embark on non schedule operations in the interim.
He reiterated that on no account will it compromise safety and security of airline operations in the airspace.
According to him, “Every facet of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARS) and Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) must be adhered to with due diligence. In addition, everything has been put in place to continue our to ensure compliance.”
Responding, the management said that Firstnation is currently undergoing maintenance on A319 fleet and that this maintenance exercise will be completed on or before September 15, 2016.
The airline disclosed this in an online statement by the management and made available to aviation journalist today.
“The airline planned this maintenance action well ahead, notified passengers and flights are currently loaded online effective September 15th, 2016 – this will ensure that passengers continue to en joy safe and reliable service that the airline is reputed for. Current foreign exchange constraint, coupled with over 70% devaluation of Naira partly contributed in no small measure to this development. The Airline’s plan remains on track to reinstating service as advised herein,” the statement reads in part.
Firstnation Airways is IATA IOSA certified and operates a fleet of Airbus A319.
The stated that it was aware of a press release by NCAA and that the authority was formally informed by the airline, adding that at Firstnation, safety is its priority and that it looks forward to re- stating service shortly upon completion of current maintenance upgrade.