The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu has confirmed that the regulatory agency has cleared Aero Contractors to resume scheduled services.
Speaking with our correspondent on Tuesday in Abuja, Nuhu said that the NCAA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the airline on the payment of its outstanding 5% Ticket Sales Charge (TSC).
Nuhu also clarified that the airline was not grounded and that it never had safety issues. Rather, he said the airline was grappling with financial challenges which, if not quickly nipped in the bud, may degenerate into safety issues.
Audit findings: Nuhu also stated that during its audit of the airline, the NCAA discovered minor issues with its operations, which he said had been addressed by the airline’s management. He said:
- “Aero Contractors was not grounded based on safety issues. We did an audit of them because whatever audit you do, you have findings and they were all minor findings. There were no Level 1, 2, or 3 findings. They were very insignificant. We notified them. We audited them and we found out that the issue they had was financial sustainability.
- “Aviation is safety sensitive and whenever you have financial difficulty, it is just a matter of time before you will not be able to comply with all the regulatory requirements and some may start cutting corners. So, before the financial issue becomes a safety issue, we discussed it with them. And they, on their own before we took any action, agreed with our findings and suspended their operations to enable them to reorganise and get some funding to get more equipment.
- “That is what they have done, we sat with them, they submitted, we asked for projection, which they did, and we reviewed. The first one wasn’t good enough, they had to go and review it and it was quite satisfactory. We had an MoU with them for payment of the outstanding 5% on the Ticket Sales Charge (TSC). So, they are fine. As far as we are concerned, they can resume operations.”
Safety compliance: Nuhu also said that the NCAA was intensifying compliance with safety rules and recommended practices through the monitoring of all organisations, including the airlines.
- He, however, regretted the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the operations of the airlines, which he said put the airlines and other operators in the industry in a more precarious position.
- Besides, Nuhu decried the foreign exchange and Jet A1 challenges bedevilling the industry, stressing that these further put the industry on the edge.
- “A lot of the airlines didn’t globally survive Covid-19 and some are still being affected by the impact of Covid-19,” he said.
The backstory: Nairametrics had previously reported on Monday that Aero Contractors would return to operations the first week in December 2022 after four months of suspension of operations.
- The airline had voluntarily suspended services on July 20, 2022, while efforts made to return to operations after the arrival of some of its aircraft that went for scheduled maintenance outside the country were futile.
- The airline would return to service on Monday, next week, December 5, 2022.
Wow. Am happy for Aerocontractors. One of the old reliable airlines. Indeed Aero is a reliable way to fly… Come back with full force and take your place.
Congratulations 👏 🎊
Congratulations Aero team….well come.back….wishing u all de best…..but don’t forget to fly Uyo….again….