…Regulator acted in bad faith-airline
NIGERIAN Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has fined First Nation Airways and the aircraft’s Pilot – in – Command (PIC) will pay N32,000,000 (Thirty two million naira) and N1,500,000 (One million five hundred thousand naira)over violation of safety regulations.
This is just as the airline has reacted criticizing the NCAA’s need to go Public and not stating that the airline immediately filed an appeal against the sanctions in accordance with the requirements of Nig. CARs 1.10 . stating that the NCAA acted in bad faith.
In a Letter of Sanction conveying the penalties, the Airline was ordered to pay a sum of N32,000,000 (Thirty two million naira) only while the Pilot – in – Command (PIC) of the Aircraft, will pay N1,500,000 (One million five hundred thousand naira ) only.
According to the Letter, “during a Ramp Inspection on your Airbus A319 Aircraft with registration mark 5N-FNE at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA),it was discovered that the PIC was not in personal possession of a current medical certificate neither was it readily accessible.”Consequent upon this, a Letter Of Investigation[LOI] was sent to the Airline and the Pilot.
However, in their response, the Pilot admitted violating Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) while the Airline demonstrated lack of thorough knowledge of the requirements of the Regulations.
Therefore, the Airline has contravened the Regulations by allowing a flight crew member to be rostered to operate a total of 16 nos (sixteen) scheduled flights on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th November, 2016.
These operations were carried out while his medical certificate had expired since on the 1st November, 2016, thereby rendering his Pilot License subsequently invalid from that date.
In light of these, the Airline is hereby sanctioned in accordance with IS 1.3.3 (14) while the Pilot suffered 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 N32,000,000 (Thirty – two million naira) only while the Pilot will pay N1.5 million (One million and five hundred naira) only, being moderate civil penalty for the violation. The fine must however be paid within seven (7) days of receipt of the letter from the Authority.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) therefore wishes to advise all Airline Operators to acquaint themselves properly with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) to guide their operations as violation[s] is viewed seriously.
However, in its swift reaction, Firstnation Airways to clarify its position with respect to the NCAA’s statement said:
“ We are surprised that the NCAA’s press release did not contain the fact that we immediately filed an appeal against the sanctions in accordance with the requirements of Nig. CARs 1.10 . The fact that NCAA elected to go Public on a Sunday, without any need to rush to media and by deliberately withholding the fact that we have appealed the sanctions in accordance with the relevant regulation is in bad faith and showed the Authority’s tendency of regulation by media in a very sensitive industry.”
“It is our position that on the on the day that the said flight was ramp inspected, the Captain had a valid medical license. We have also drawn NCAA’s attention to the need to address the bureaucracy associated with the general license and medical renewals process with the Authority. We will cooperate with NCAA in working to improve the current challenges with respect to License renewal.”
“The Airline admits no wrong doing and despite this position consider the level of financial fine arbitrary and at variance with the levels set out in the relevant section of Nig.CARs The essence of Nig. CARs is corrective rather than cause Airline injury and we will be working the appeal and review of the sanction with NCAA.”
“Firstnation is committed to best industry practice and respect for regulation and take the safety seriously. Our high safety standard is attested by the fact that the Airline is IATA-IOSA certified, The first Airlines to achieve IOSA certification among the ten Africa airlines selected by IATA- IATF in 2014.”