The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has declared the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) of Hak Air , invalid and for the airline to return for recertification before it will be allowed to commence flight operations.
The regulatory body said the, AOC, issued the airline in May 2013 is at the moment invalid, accusing the airline’s management of violating the requirements for the issuance of the certificate.
However, the airline has dared the regulatory agency to revoke its certificate, insisting that it has not violated any of the agency’s rules on issuance of AOC.
The General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr. Fan Ndubuoke who spoke to us in Lagos said that the airline, which was issued AOC in May 2013 refused to commence flight operations 20 months after the issuance of AOC .
Ndubuoke insisted that the management of the airline had breached its rule on issuance of AOC.
According to Ndubuoke, NCAA regulation stipulates that a new airline on issuance of AOC must commence flight operations within minimum of 30 days and 90 days maximum, stressing that since the airline was issued AOC in 2013, it had not commenced flight operations, which technically rendered its current AOC invalid.
Ndubuoke explained that whenever the management of the airline was ready to commence operations, it would reapply for another audit and maintained that the law would not be waived for any carrier no matter how highly placed its management might be.
He said, “NCAA procedure on issuance of AOC is clear. You must start operations within a minimum of 30 days and maximum of 90 days. But, since we issued it the AOC, it has refused to commence flight operations for the reason best known to it.”
But, a source close to the airline who doesn’t want to be mentioned because he was not allowed to speak on the issue, told our correspondent that the airline had not violated any of the known regulations of NCAA on issuance of AOC.
The source insisted that NCAA law on invalidation of AOC only applied to operating airlines, which willingly suspended operations or was suspended by the regulatory agency for safety and other major reasons.
On the part of the airline, the source said that it had not commenced operations and wondered why its AOC would be revoked by NCAA.
The source also informed that what NCAA law stipulated was that any airline, which seized operations or was forced to stop operations and did not return within 60 days, would be made to go through the same process of acquiring an AOC, maintaining that since it had not commenced operations, it could not be hooked by the law.
The source further confirmed that NCAA wrote it sometime in 2014 notifying it of the revocation of its license, but dared it to withdraw its certificate.
The source however attributed its inability to commence flight operations as proposed to the inability of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, to secure an office space for it in Abuja, but said it had already secured an office in Lagos airport.
The source said, “How can NCAA threaten to withdraw or suspend our AOC when we have not commenced flight operations since we were issued the AOC? The law they are referring to only applies to operating airlines, which suspended operations or was forced to stop operations for safety reason. But in our own case, we are yet to commence.
“They (NCAA) wrote our management of the revocation of the AOC, but I learnt that the management pointed it out to them and they were dazed. We’ve not commenced operations because we are unable to secure office space at Abuja airport despite all our efforts to secure one. I believe the management will commence flight operations immediately if it secures one.”
However, a source close to the ministry of aviation confided in our correspondent that the current AOC of the airline would expire by May 15 this year and thereby requires revalidation by the regulatory authority.
The ministry source further stated that it had instructed NCAA to write the airline, intimating it of the revocation of the AOC, which he believed the agency had complied with.
The source wondered why the management of the airline, which outrightly acquired five Boeing 737 aircraft for operations, would allow the aircraft to be parked at the airside of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, MMA, Lagos without usage.