It has not been a good period in the country’s aviation sector as 2 domestic carriers, in the space of less than 24 hours, announced suspension of their operations. Rumors have been flying about as to why this is happened, but the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has come out to explain the reasons for the actions.

As for First Nation, as earlier reported by Nairametrics, two of its aircraft are currently undergoing maintenance, therefore necessitating the suspension of operations. However, this suspension is temporary, as the airline’s Head, Commercial, Serah Awogbade said the aircraft maintenance will be completed by September 15, 2016.

‘First Nation is currently undergoing maintenance on A319 fleet. This maintenance exercise will be completed on or before September 15th, 2016.The Airline planned this maintenance action well ahead, notified passengers and flights are currently loaded online effective September 15th, 2016 – this will ensure that passengers continue to enjoy safe and reliable service that the airline is reputed for. Current foreign exchange constraint coupled with over 70 per cent devaluation of naira partly contributed in no small measure to the development. The Airline’s plan remains on track to reinstating service as advised herein’

The situation with Aero is a little different. Usman said Aero Contractors, at present has only one serviceable aircraft, adding that this in contradiction to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARS) which stipulates that no airline shall carry out scheduled commercial operation with only one aircraft, adding that the minimum acceptable number is three…. In other words, any airline with one aircraft is in contravention of the Authority’s regulations therefore cannot be adjudged to be capable of providing safe operation. The only option available is to suspend your operations temporarily while other aircraft arrive in due course.”

This befuddles Nigerians as Aero Contractors is the nation’s second largest domestic carrier. What happened to its fleet? And why are the staff bearing the brunt of the management’s failure? These are questions that Air Traffic Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) yesterday were asking as they occupied the head office of Aero Contractors at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, The Nation reports.

Parts of this article originally appeared in The Nation Newspapers.

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