- As Aviation crisis deepens, following another airline’s operational pull out
The President, Nigeria Indigenous Ship-owners Association (NISA), Olaniyi Dada Labinjo has urged Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who recently returned after signing some understandings with PIL, Singapore, to make open the agreement reached to create a national carrier, before those unauthorized would misinform the public.
The NISA leader who anchored his argument on the fact that some of those who made the trip actually expended the tax payers sweat, the fact that Minister while on the trip represented Nigeria, makes it mandatory that on his return, the citizens should be properly briefed.
*The Honourable Minister of Transportation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was there representing the Nigerian government.
*The Chairman and some members of the Implementation Committee are public servants.
*The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, who was in the group photograph, is a public servant”, the NISA boss reasoned, noting that as “Tax payers money was used to fund the trip in respect of all the public servants”, there would naturally be a high public interest on the issue, for which reasons Rotimi Amaechi should account for.
“It will not be fair to hear about the provisions in the MOU from “waterside discussion”.
“I therefore look forward to either another round of Ministerial briefing of the stakeholders and or a publication of the entire provisions of the MOU in national dailies” Capt Olabinjo posited, emphasizing that until then, he would sincerely resist the temptation to comment on “tit bits” provisions of the MOU provided by some online maritime papers”.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Transportation, members of the Implementation Committee and some stakeholders who went to Singapore in a laudable desire to evolve the nation’s shipping fleet have returned to Nigeria, after the execution of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with PIL.
In the meantime, another domestic carrier, First Nation Airlines, has suspended its operations, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said.
This is coming less than 24 hours after Aero Contractors Airlines, Nigeria’s second largest commercial carrier, announced the suspension of its scheduled flight services and its workers were ordered to proceed on indefinite leave with effect from Thursday, September 1, 2016.
According to a statement signed on Thursday by the Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, the decision by the First Nation to suspend its operations was taken to enable the carrier to carry out the required maintenance of its aircraft.
The agency, however, refuted claims that some of the domestic airlines were winding down their operations regardless of the fact that they had suspended flight services.
The statement said, “The First Nation Airlines on its part is in the middle of an engine replacement programme for one of its aircraft. Another aircraft is due for mandatory maintenance as is 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.”
Usman insisted that the domestic carriers had not wind down their operations, but were “merely suspending their operations temporarily to enable them undertake certain operational overhaul and strengthen their overall operational outlay.”
He added, “One of the airlines, Aerocontractors, at present has only one serviceable aircraft. This in contradiction to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig), which stipulates that no airline operator shall carry out schedule commercial operation with only one aircraft. The minimum acceptable number is three aircraft.
“In other words, any airline with one aircraft is in contravention of the authority’s regulations; it, therefore, cannot be adjudged to be capable of providing safe operation. The only option available is to suspend your operations temporarily while other aircraft arrive in due course.”
It, however, explained that the NCAA’s regulations provided a window for such operator to embark on non-scheduled operations in the interim.
The NCAA reiterated that on no account would the authority compromise on safety and security of airline operations in the airspace.
“Every facet of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations and Standard and Recommended Practices must be adhered to with due diligence. In addition, everything has been put in place to continue to ensure compliance,” it said.
Additional report from Punch