First Nation Airways

First Nation Airways on Tuesday said that the suspension of its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has nothing to do with safety issues.

In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Rasheed Yusuff, the airline said its operation achieved above industry dispatch reliability of over 95 per cent and was reputed for on time performance and schedule integrity.

Yusuf also said the operating aircraft and crew hold the relevant and safety-critical approvals and authorisations.

He stated, “The basis of the NCAA’s decision is therefore apparently commercial. And in an industry facing worsening aircraft capacity constraints, the authority should be forward-looking and working with the industry to facilitate policies that will endear industry growth, so as not to further limit and compromise passengers’ choice options across all segments. The national interest has not been served by this development.

“We remain committed to the highest level of safety standard in line with industry best practices. FirstNation is currently working assiduously on fleet expansion and confident that we will grow our fleet this year 2018. Be that as it may, we will seek reconsideration and review of the suspension in the light of facts that will be made available to the authorities, and will cooperate with the NCAA in good faith, to address all concerns and the alleged infractions to reach a resolution.”

The NCAA had on Sunday announced the suspension the AOC of FirstNation Airways indefinitely, saying that the move was sequel to the flagrant and continuous violation of the terms and conditions of issuance of the certificate by the airline, by carrying out unauthorised and illegal operations.

The NCAA stated that when the AOC of the airline expired, it did not have at least two airworthy aircraft capable of servicing its approved schedule as required by Part 9.1.1.6 (b) (2) (ii) of Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (Nig.CARS), 2015.

The airline, however, stated that it presented two airworthy aircraft to the NCAA as far back as September 2017.

“It is, therefore, apparent that the context of our operation vis-a-vis compliance with the extant regulations and government’s policy has been misconstrued,” the airline added.