- NCAA Fines First Nation, Pilot N33.5m
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has fined First Nation Airways and one of its pilots N33.5m for violating safety regulations.
The regulatory agency said on Sunday that it had through a letter of sanction conveying the penalties, ordered the airline to pay N32m, while the pilot in charge of the affected aircraft would pay N1.5m.
The NCAA said it discovered during a ramp inspection on First Nation’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.
It added that a letter of investigation was sent to the airline and the pilot, and while the pilot admitted violating the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, the airline demonstrated lack of thorough knowledge of the requirements of the regulations.
The NCAA said in a statement signed by its General Manager, Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye, “Therefore, the airline has contravened the regulations by allowing a flight crew member to be rostered to operate a total of 16 scheduled flights on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th of November, 2016. These operations were carried out while his medical certificate had expired since the 1st of November, 2016, thereby rendering his pilot licence subsequently invalid from that date.
“In the light of these, the airline is hereby sanctioned in accordance with IS 1.3.3 (14), while the pilot suffered a similar fate in line with IS 1.3.3(11) (15) (e), in lieu of suspension under IS 1.3.3(11) (15) (a) of the Nig.CARs 2015. On this strength, the airline is required to pay a total sum of N32m, while the pilot will pay N1.5m, being moderate civil penalty for the violation.”
The NCAA said the fine must be paid within seven days of receipt of the letter conveying the decision, and urged other airlines to acquaint themselves properly with the NCARs to guide their operations as violation would be viewed seriously.
In a statement signed by Rasheed Yusuf, on behalf of First Nation Airways, the airline said it had filed an appeal against the sanctions in accordance with the requirements of the Nig.CARs 1.10.
The statement read in part, “It is our position that on the day that the said flight was ramp inspected, the captain had a valid medical licence. We have also drawn the NCAA’s attention to the need to address the bureaucracy associated with the general licence and medical renewal process with the authority. We will cooperate with the NCAA in working to improve the current challenges with respect to licence renewal.
“The airline admits no wrong doing and despite this position considers the level of financial fine arbitrary and at variance with the levels set out in the relevant section of the Nig.CARs. The essence of Nig.CARs is corrective rather than cause airlines injury, and we will be working the appeal and review of the sanction with the NCAA.
“First Nation is committed to best industry practice and respect for regulations, and take safety seriously. Our high safety standard is attested by the fact that the airline is IATA-IOSA certified, and is the first airline to achieve IOSA certification among the ten10 Africa airlines selected by IATA-ATF in 2014.”