With effect from may 11, First nation Airline is expected to suspend all flights, commercial or charter, since the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, wielded the big stick over the weekend against the ailing airline. The exit will further deplete local operations, though safety issues also are raised due to continued operations of the airline generally linked to the Nation Group of companies, with alleged connections to an All Progressives Congress national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
With Air peace and Arik struggling to make inroutes into the African subregion and with international confidence weakening towards Medview Airline, the local aviation ought to have received a boost but it is not so. Many have insufficient fleet, and some just managed to satisfy the NCAA regulation that a domestic Airline must have at least two functional aircrafts if it is to venture into commercial operations. And that was the point where First nation defaulted.
After the last Dana Air crash at Iju near Lagos the resultant public outcry jolted the regulatory agencies into scrutinizing the regularity of routine maintenance checks, grounding airlines that has not been up to date in the maintenance. First nation, which had four Aircrafts but were managing them for local flights without regular c-checks, Voluntarily grounded their own fleet so they can send them for checks. With the grounding, it took only the initial two that went for tests to come back to life, and one filed the tests. So it has only one functional Aircraft with which it was running commercial operations before the expiration of their Air operating license. With the expiration, however, they could only manage the certificate of airworthiness for one aircraft and was therefore permitted only to do charter flights.
Now the NCAA hammer has fallen on it with the current indefinite suspension, after, according to Sam Adurogboye, the Authority’s image maker, they have been warned several times. The License, however, will be restored when the airline shows willingness to comply with extant regulations.
The exit of First nation will increase passengers’ nightmares at the airport, with increase in flight cancellations and delays. And the unethical practice of pilots doing more hours than regulations required will increase, to earn more allowances. Crew members will also be stressed since most local airlines cannot recruit when they can not pay salaries of their staff.