Nigeria’s aviation sector regulator, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), says its recent audit on domestic airlines has revealed severe breaches of safety regulations by some operators necessitating the issuance of warning letters to some and the suspension of the operating licence of one of the airlines.
“In pursuit of our oversight responsibilities as stipulated by law, the NCAA has lately carried out a review of the operations of some domestic airlines,” said Sam Adurogboye, spokesperson for the agency.
Past air crashes in Nigeria had been attributed to decisions or errors on the part of pilots and airline owners to breach safety processes in the pursuit of profits. And with recent harsh weather conditions occasioned by the harmattan haze that has stalled several scheduled flights coupled with other factors like high cost of fuel, which have eroded the profitability of airlines, strict enforcement of safety rules by the NCAA has become inevitable to halt attempts by airlines to risk passengers’ lives and fly under unfavourable safety conditions.
Adurogboye said the conclusion of the audit this week had led to “letters of warning or suspension of Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) served on defaulters.”
“A case in point is an airline that failed to carry out certain corrective actions within one week from January 1 – 7, 2015 as raised in an earlier letter to the operator.
“Consequent upon the inability to address the issues raised, the NCAA in its letter dated January 8, 2015 to the operator hereby suspends the Air Operator’s Certificate of Discovery Airways Limited.
“The suspension takes effect from January 8, 2015, which was the date of the letter conveying the notice. This order would be in force pending the outcome of a comprehensive review of the airlines operations to be carried out accordingly,” Adurogboye added.
According to him, as much as it was not the desire of NCAA to regulate any airline out of existence, the regulatory agency, however, views any violation of safety regulations seriously.
Discovery Air commenced flight operations last year. The NCAA has repeatedly raised fresh fears over the safety of some airlines still plying domestic routes noting that some of the airlines were defaulting in meeting staff basic salary demands, a trend he said could weaken staff morale and commitment as well as result in safety compromise.
“The moment an airline cannot meet its financial obligations, it is believed that the staff morale will be down and this can impact negatively on safety and security of its operations,” said the NCAA. -SunNews