- Appeal Panel Upholds NCAA’s N33.5m Sanction Against FirstNation
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said a five-man appeal panel has upheld the sanctions it imposed against FirstNation Airways Limited.
The NCAA had in February fined the airline and one of its pilots N33.5m for violating safety regulations.
According to the NCAA, the panel’s decision was contained in the report it submitted at the conclusion of its sitting.
The regulator said FirstNation Airways had filed an appeal following a Letter of Sanction written to the airline on January 23, 2017.
The NCAA had explained at the time that it discovered during a ramp inspection of FirstNation’s Airbus A319 aircraft with registration mark 5N-FNE at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, that the pilot was not in possession of a current medical certificate and neither was it readily accessible.
The NCAA said in a statement signed by its General Manager, Public Relations, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, on Sunday, “After the exercise, it was discovered that the Pilot-in-Command was not in possession of a current medical certificate. In addition, the airline similarly rostered the pilot to carry out operational flights when obviously his medical certificate had expired.
“Therefore, the airline and the pilot violated Parts 126.96.36.199(a), 188.8.131.52(1), 184.108.40.206(a) (1) and 220.127.116.11(a) (24) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015.”
Adurogboye said the airline and its pilot were consequently fined N32m and N1.5m, respectively as moderate civil penalties for the violation.
The airline filed an appeal to the NCAA in disagreement with the reported violations and sanctions, necessitating the constitution of an appeal committee of three airline operators, a private legal expert and officials of the agency as observers.
Adurogboye said, “After four days of sitting, submissions and deliberations, the panel upheld and reiterated the applicable sanctions meted out to the airline and its pilot.
“It arrived at conclusions in agreement with the NCAA findings prelude to the application of sanctions.”
According to the report, the pilot was not in possession of the licence during the ramp inspection and did not have a valid licence, but operated 15 flights, while the airline rostered him 16 times.
“The PIC operated with expired license from November 2 to 8, 2016 and there all indications that the airline knew the PIC did not have a valid licence. This is a very serious safety issue; therefore, the moderate sanctions applied by the NCAA were reasonable under the circumstances,” Adurogboye added.