A major player in the Nigerian aviation industry has been grounded for technical reasons after insurance of its aircraft expired and the airline’s inability to acquire Jet A1 for its operations.Nigerianflightdeck.com has learnt that as of today none of the airline’s flight has taken off or landed as the insurance its aircraft expired all at once for a fleet acquired separately from different manufacturers.
According to Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig Cars) Part 18.11.2 dealing with aviation insurance, No person shall operate any aircraft in public air transport category without adequate and valid insurance cover.
The regulations further read in Part 126.96.36.199. Any person having a duty to maintain adequate insurance shall submit to the Authority on quarterly basis, insurance certificates, evidence of paying premium and policy documents.
A chat with a source at the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) revealed that it will be impossible for the airline to fly if it does not have insurance for its aircraft, stating that such is a gross violation of the regulations and attracts stiff penalties in terms of fines and others.
The source told Nigerianflightdeck.com that the insurance is important because if there is no insurance and God forbid, something happens to that aircraft, the airline would not be able to pay compensation. So as a rule, once insurance expires that aircraft is grounded technically until, the insurance can be renewed.
A visit to the airline’s operational base and the airline was telling its passengers it cannot fly because of lack of Jet A1(aviation fuel) which has become a major excuse for airlines anytime an airline wants to delay or cancel flights to the detriment of the passengers who are not compensated.
However, there is strong evidence backing the fuel claims also as airlines now operate on cash and carry basis with oil marketers, a result of accumulated debts by airlines in the country, one airline according to information is owing marketers over N500million.
The questions now are, ‘are all their aircraft insured on the same day? And if they are not and the true reason for the grounding is aviation fuel, then how do other airlines get their jet A1? Or is the fact that airlines must pay cash to carry fuel affecting heavy debtors and how do they owe debts if the payment by their passengers are made before they can even board?