CHAIRMAN, West Link Airlines Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia has commended actions taken by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) against a private jet operator who allegedly uses his aircraft for hire and reward, violating the regulations and thereby denying the government and the agency the required revenues and taxes
This is however as he said the sanction which consists 60 days suspension of the culprit and planned seizure of its Permit for Non- Commercial Flight (PNCF), as punishment would not deter others from engaging in the illegality in the future hence stricter penalties be applied. READ ALSO: Operator charges NCAA; DSS to go after illegal charter operators
Capt. Mshelia who spoke to reporters over the weekend, said that the regulatory agency needed the support of all in order to effectively sanitise the industry stressing that full autonomy of NCAA would further empower and embolden it to carry out some reform processes in the sector.
He lamented that a few of the operators who carry out this illegal act were the ‘connected’ in the country.
On the sanctions, he said they may be limited due to what the regulations prescribe but suggested that the regulatory agency should hand over such culprit to the security agencies for proper prosecution, insisting that such act was an economic crime against the state.
He also opined that for proper cleansing of the sub-sector, it was proper for the Department of Security Services (DSS) and other security agencies to wade into the matter.
Mshelia advised that instead of engaging in illegal charter services, some of the private jet operators should change their license to commercial, airlift clients legally, create more jobs for teeming professionals and pay the appropriate levies and taxes to the government. READ ALSO: AfBAA Speaker Webinar: NCAA to release new reviewed Civil Aviation Act July
He said: “NCAA in what they are doing at the moment, they need our help. So many of us know the truth and we can help NCAA to act. We have a system that is hopeless, but you cannot say the truth in the public, otherwise you are called the radical. It shows us that the current NCAA helmsman is determined to exhibit what he has learnt from outside. The man was in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). He knows what is happening in other countries, he has seen it and he has come to say no.
“The real truth is that there are powerful people behind all these illegal actions. If they are not, it would have been easy to flush them out. They want to live big. Some of these people are in a position to stop this in a minute, but they are involved in it. If we dig deeper, we will find them out.
“I disagree with the DG on the 60 days suspension of license. That is a crime against the economy of the country. That is a crime against all we stand for. Why will NCAA just give such a little punishment? The punishment should be more serious.
“I want to call your attention to something, NCAA is not a law court; it has its limitation legislatively on how it can punish citizens legislatively. I want to advise that the NCAA should go further by handing over the culprit for prosecution in the law court. In that case, it will be in order. To me, the 60 days is too little.”
According to him however, Capt. Musa Nuhu, the current Director-General, NCAA with his international experience and exposure was ready and willing to carry out the needed reforms in the sector, but said all hands must be on deck to make this work.