By Lawani Mikairu

Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, yesterday said that it is currently carrying out economic and financial audits of domestic airlines in the country in order to determine their health conditions.

This is just as the regulator expresses optimism that Dana Air and Aero Contractors will resume operations after their audit.

Captain Musa Nuhu, the Director-General, NCAA who disclosed this in an interview with journalists at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, MMA , Lagos said that the regulatory body was already carrying out  audits on  three airlines, while the others would be done in batches.

Recall Aero Contractors recently voluntarily suspended its operations, while NCAA grounded the services of Dana Air. Only  eight domestic  airlines are  currently operating. They are Air Peace, Arik Air, Max Air, Green Africa, United Nigeria, Overland, Azman Air and Ibom Air.

Nuhu, however, lamented the current difficult operating environment for operators, which was further escalated by the scarce of foreign exchange and the skyrocketing price of Jet A1, but said NCAA would not relegate safety to the background.

The DG said: “We are currently conducting financial and economic audits of airlines in the country. We have done two or three of the airlines and other airlines would be taken in batches. I will sit down and discuss with the management on the airlines on the way forward.”

“Like I said, we have a financial crisis and we don’t want it to cross over into a safety crisis. We need to manage the situation. For now, we remain focused, while working to address the solution to the financial difficulties in the airlines. This cannot go on forever. So, we are working around the clock to find a solution to the problem.”

“Yes, it is a very difficult situation, but we are just going to do what we are doing. We are working together and collaborating with others to address the situation in the industry. We, at the NCAA, are trying our best to keep the industry safe. Safety is paramount to us. Anything that affects safety will not be compromised or whatsoever. It is better for the airlines to be shut down than having a major incident or accident.”

 On the suspension of operations of Dana Air, he said that the audit of the airline was still ongoing, adding that the agency would give the airline a clear chance to resolve whatever issue it is having.

According to him, during the financial and economic audit of the airline, the NCAA discovered some “grave concerns” in the operations of the airline that may affect safety.

“What we found out was of grave concern to us. Investigations are still ongoing we are still talking to the management of Dana Air,” Captain Nuhu revealed.

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