Aviation industry experts have expressed fears that Nigeria may witness more air accidents, as some airlines now compromise scheduled maintenance of their aircraft due to paucity of funds.
THISDAY learnt that some of the new airlines that recently obtained Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) have started compromising compulsory aircraft checks, schedule dates for pilot and cabin crew training, owing to lack of funds. It was also learnt that due to huge indebtedness, some new entrants in the aviation industry have been unable to pay workers’ salaries and could also not meet their financial obligations to companies that provide services to them.
Worried about the situation, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) last week directed the airlines to offset their debts and pay their workers, failing which they would be grounded.
Aviation experts noted that the remote cause of the last two air crashes in Nigeria was poor maintenance of operational aircraft. Dana Air flight 992 crashed in Lagos on June 2, 2012, killing 153 people. The aircraft crashed into a furniture works and printing press building in the Iju-Ishaga neighbourhood of Lagos after the aircraft’s two engines failed.
Also, on October 3, 2013 Associated Aviation Flight 361 was on a domestic charter flight service when it crashed on takeoff at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, on its way to Akure Airport, Ondo State.
Industry experts are worried that the same ugly signs have started showing up again, noting that one of such signs is the seeming indifference on the part of the NCAA when airlines are unable to maintain their aircraft.