Friday, June 22, 2012

► NIGERIA: FirstNation flights suspended 'til July; Air Nigeria grounded by NCAA again.

first nation logoThe local civil aviation scene in Nigeria continues to undergo a severe shake up as a consequence of the  Dana Air Flight 9J-997 tragedy.

This last week, the latest victims appear to be domestic Nigerian carrier First Nation Airways (FRN) who have announced that they have sent their fleet of three Airbus A320s to Europe for mandatory service checks, and were therefore temporarily suspending operations between Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt until 2 July. 

First Nation Airways A320
First Nation Airways in Abuja.
Whether the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had a hidden hand in the suspension of their services is uncertain.

On Tuesday, in the latest twist to the Air Nigeria Saga, the NCAA moved to reground the airline's fleet over alleged financial irregularities at Jimoh Ibrahim's airline. A former top executive of the airline claimed in a recent public mud-slinging match that it was in financial distress,  and could not therefore adequately maintain its fleet of 11 aircraft. 

In a fairly limpid statement, Air Nigeria stated it would cooperate with the NCAA enquiry but reaffirmed that the gorunding would not impact its still fragile international service to London Gatwick.

"Air Nigeria wishes to inform that the scheduled Lagos – London - Lagos flight operation is not affected by the temporary suspension directive of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). Passengers are therefore encouraged to proceed with their confirmed itinerary while intending customers can make their reservations through all our sales channels.  We, however, wish to apologize for all the inconvenience that the temporary suspension of our domestic and regional flights by the NCAA will bring on our passengers.  

Air Nigeria is committed to offering safe and secure flight operations at all times as just recently it was given a clean bill of health by the regulatory agency after a safety audit of its operations. We will continue to liaise with the relevant agencies to ensure that the suspension order is lifted as soon as possible."
Read More Here [Air Nigeria]