After shutting down Dana Air over its inability to meet financial obligations and recurrent flight incidents, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), on Wednesday, said it was conducting fresh audit of three airlines.
LEADERSHIP recalls that the number of domestic operators nosedived to eight from 10 about a week ago, following the suspension of operations by two airlines, citing high operating cost and forex scarcity.
While Aero Contractors voluntarily suspended its operations, NCAA grounded the services of Dana Air following its alleged failure to run safe operations.
The remaining eight operational airlines are Air Peace, Arik Air, Max Air, Green Africa, United Nigeria, Overland, Azman Air and Ibom Air.
Though NCAA director general, Capt. Musa Nuhu, didn’t mention the three airlines being audited presently, but a . close to the agency confided in our correspondent that Max Air and Arik Air may be among the three airlines due to their recent flight delays and disruptions.
Speaking in an interview with aviation journalists on Wednesday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, the NCAA boss, however, revealed that the audit of other airlines would be done in batches.
Nuhu, however, lamented the current difficult operating environment for operators, which was further exercabated by the scarce of foreign exchange and the skyrocketing price of Jet A1, but said NCAA would not relegate safety to the background.
He said, “We are currently conducting financial and economic audits of airlines in the country. We have done two or three of the airlines and other airlines would be taken in batches. I will sit down and discuss with the management of the airlines on the way forward.
“Like I said, we have a financial crisis and we don’t want it to cross over into a safety crisis. We need to manage the situation. For now, we remain focused, while working to address the solution to the financial difficulties in the airlines. This cannot go on forever. So, we are working around the clock to find a solution to the problem.
“Yes, it is a very difficult situation, but we are just going to do what we are doing. We are working together and collaborating with others to address the situation in the industry. We, at the NCAA, are trying our best to keep the industry safe. Safety is paramount to us. Anything that affects safety will not be compromised whatsoever. It is better for the airlines to be shut down than having a major incident or accident.”
Besides, Nuhu also shed more light on the suspension of operations of Dana Air.
According to him, during the financial and economic audit of the airline, the NCAA discovered some ‘grave concerns’ in the operations of the airline that may affect safety.
He, however, said that the audit of the airline was still ongoing, adding that the agency would give the airline a clear chance to resolve whatever issue it was having.
“What we found out was of grave concern to us. Investigations are still ongoing we are still talking to the management of Dana Air,” he added.
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