…says safety regulations violators’ll be grounded’
By Kenneth Ehigiator
A new airline, Air Peace, yesterday, secured its Air Operator’s Certificate, AOC, from Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to operate domestic passenger service in the country, even as the regulatory agency threatened to ground carriers owing salaries.
This brings to three the number of airlines licensed by the NCAA to operate domestic services this year, with earlier certification of Discovery Air and Air Azmar.
Air Peace got the OAC after satisfying all statutory requirements to operate scheduled operations in Nigeria.
Speaking while presenting the licence to the airlines’ management, acting Director-General of NCAA, Engr. Benedict Adeyileka, explained that Air Peace was given the licence after its management team met all the requirements in record time ahead of commencement of operations.
He said the airlines demonstrated capacity with its team of indigenous professionals, and urged it to ensure adherence to all safety and technical regulations to run a successful airline.
According to him, NCAA will not hesitate to sanction airlines that violate security and safety regulations.
“The NCAA now has power to sack people in any airlines, if the person is dangerous to safety. Whether they are pilots, engineers, we would pull them out. NCAA will go after airlines that are not doing well. That is our commitment to safety,” Adeyileka vowed.
He said the agency was impressed with the quality of aircraft and spare parts acquired by the airlines ahead of commencement of operations.
Adeyileka urged the airlines’ management to ensure issues of staff training, aircraft maintenance and crew matters were settled to achieve the growth and development of the industry, warning that it would not hesitate to sack any staff of any airlines involved in dangerous operations.
He said the reason NCAA would go after errant operators was to ensure safety, describing the foundation laid by Air Peace as very solid, in view of measures put in place for maintenance of aircraft and spare parts’ acquisition.
Chairman of the airlines, Mr. Allen Onyema, assured that Air Peace was set to change the face of air travel in the country, having acquired seven aircraft to start off operations.
According to him, job creation for teeming indigenous professionals and not money-making drove the establishment of the airlines.
He assured that Air Peace was committed to safety, even as it would not defer the maintenance of its aircraft.
Noting that Air Peace would continue to invest in Nigerian pilots and aircraft engineers to reduce capital flight, Onyema spoke of plans to train more professionals, including pilots and aircraft engineers to attain global certification .