By Chinedu Eze
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced that it has sanctioned an airline, Lyxor International, a non-schedule, general aviation operator for violating the terms of an approved flight clearance for its type of operation.
The regulatory authority grounded the airline’s aircraft at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on February 16, for the violation of airspace regulation.
THISDAY learnt that the aircraft owned by a foreign airline operated domestic charter service, which is against the regulation, as the airline did not secure any approval from NCAA to do so, and according to the rules, foreign airlines cannot fly from one local airport to another, except on peculiar circumstances when NCAA grants it such privilege.
According to the Letter of Sanction written to the airline, “NCAA’s Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI) on the February 16, 2017, during a routine ramp inspection of the airline’s Bombardier Challenger CL605 aircraft, found it culpable of the infraction,” the agency noted in a statement signed by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye.
NCAA said upon this discovery, the aircraft with registration marks, T7-YES was immediately grounded by the Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, (NAIA), Abuja.
However, the aircraft was subsequently released after the payment of N3,000,000 on volitional condition on account of possible civil sanction with an undertaken to comply with any sanction applicable as a result of the violation.
“Contained in the Letter of Sanction, after due consideration of your response to our Letter of Investigation (LOI), it was found unsatisfactory. We found clear evidence from the flight records that the aircraft was operated within the Nigerian airspace in violation of its flight clearances between December 11, 2016 and February 15, 2017.
“Therefore, in accordance with IS 126.96.36.199. Table 2 viii (6) of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig CARS 2015) you are hereby sanctioned for failure to comply with the conditions of approved flight clearances for non-schedule international air services. This provides for a moderate civil penalty of N500,000 per violation.
“The airline is hereby required to pay the sum of N6, 500,000 (i.e. N500, 000 x 13). For the 13 times the aircraft ought to have flown out of Nigerian airspace in compliance with the approved clearances but was stationed in Nigeria,” the statement said.
NCAA noted that in addition to the times the aircraft violated the approved routes, the operator should pay moderate civil sanction of N3,000,000 (i.e.N500,000 x 6), while the respondent should pay the sum of N6,500,000 having made a deposit of N3,000,000 towards possible sanctions and it should pay the fine within seven days of receipt of the letter.
The airline is expected to pay these fines within seven days of receipt of this letter.
Meanwhile, the Director General of NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman, has advocated for regular interactions between the Regulatory Authority and all Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON).
He made the call during a meeting penultimate week with the airline operators at his Aviation House office.
The meeting was important to discuss various issues affecting the aviation industry and proffer ways to build on the laudable gains so far.
Among the issues that were deliberated upon was the directive by the NCAA to the airlines to meet the deadline to join the automation platform for seamless remittance of five per cent ticket and cargo sales charge.
Among other issues was that airlines should take advantage of the window of Billing Settlement Plan (BSP), Simulator training, Aircraft Inspection etc.