Illegal charter: NCAA suspends three licences, probes others


Chris Najomo 3The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has suspended the permits for non-commercial flight licenses of three private jets for engaging in commercial operations.

The acting Director-General of the NCAA, Captain Chris Najomo, made this disclosure in a statement obtained by The PUNCH on Tuesday.

The statement did not mention the names of the operators.

The NCAA DG said the private operators violated the provisions of their PNCF and Part 9114 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023.

In 2023, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, issued marching orders to the NCAA to stop the use of private jets for commercial purposes.

Subsequently, in March 2024, the NCAA warned holders of the permit for non-commercial flights against engaging in the carriage of passenger, cargo or mail for hire and reward.

Part of the statement read, “The authority had also deployed its officials to monitor the activities of private jets at terminals across the airports in Nigeria. As a consequence of this heightened surveillance, no fewer than three private operators have been found to be involved in violation of the annexure provision of their PNCF and Part 9114 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023.”

The NCAA DG also issued a fresh directive requiring all holders of permits for non-commercial flights to submit necessary documentation within a strict 72-hour window.

The aviation regulator said failure to comply within the specified timeframe may result in regulatory action, including the potential suspension or revocation of permits.

He stated that adhering to regulatory requirements was paramount to maintaining the integrity and safety of the aviation sector.

“In line with our zero tolerance for violations of regulations, the authority has suspended the PNCF of these operators. To further sanitise the general aviation sector, I have directed that a re-evaluation of all holders of PNCF be carried out on or before April 19, 2024, to ascertain compliance with regulatory requirements.

“All PNCF holders will be required to submit relevant documents to the authority within the next 72 hours.”

Under the new directive, Air Operator Certificate holders utilising aircraft listed on their permit for non-commercial flights for commercial charter services were also subject to scrutiny.

Only aircraft listed in the operation specifications of the AOC were authorised for use in charter services, he said.

AOC holders seeking to utilise such aircraft for charter operations must apply to the NCAA to delist the affected aircraft from the PNCF and include it in the AOC operations specification.

The NCAA DG reiterated to the travelling public not to patronise any airline charter operator who does not hold a valid Air Operator Certificate issued by the NCAA.

The regulator encouraged the legitimate players in the aviation industry to report the activity of such unscrupulous elements to the authorities promptly for necessary action.

When The PUNCH reached out to the NCAA to reveal the names of the operators whose licenses were suspended, the Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Michael Achimugu, said investigations were ongoing and mentioning their names could affect the sting operations of the regulator.

He mentioned that the NCAA would release the names of the private operators after the completion of the investigation.

“Investigations are ongoing, and we do not want to compromise that effort by releasing the names of the operators whose licenses were suspended. There is an ongoing sting operation by the DG to sanitise the industry. The key thing here is that Nigerians have demanded these things, and that is what is going on. At the appropriate time, the agency will release the names. A sting operation is ongoing all over the country,” he explained.

He emphasised that operators comply with the 72-hour timeframe to submit all relevant documents needed for evaluation.

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