The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), on Sunday, announced that it has ordered a commercial carrier, First Nation Airlines, and one of its pilots to pay a fine of N33.5million. The regulatory agency said the fine was imposed because the affected pilot, whose name was not disclosed, had flown around the country with an expired medical certificate since November 1, 2016.
The pilot, who flew an Airbus A319 with the registration number 5N-FNE, was found out during the ramp inspection of the aircraft at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, by an NCAA safety inspector. The agency immediately imposed a fine of N32million airline, while the pilot was ordered to pay a fine of N1.5 million for the infraction. Both were ordered to pay up within seven days or face grave disciplinary actions.
A statement signed by Mr. Sam Adurogboye, NCAA's spokesman, said immediately the agency discovered the safety infraction, it wrote a Letter of Investigation (LoI) to the airline and the pilot.
According to the statement, First Nation Airlines feigned ignorance of the regulation prohibiting flying with an expired medical certificate. However, the pilot admitted that he committed the offense.
“Therefore, the airline has contravened the Regulations by allowing a flight crew member to be rostered to operate a total of 16 nos (sixteen) scheduled flights on November 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th, 2016.
“These operations were carried out while his medical certificate had expired since on the 1st November 2016, thereby rendering his pilot license subsequently invalid from that date,” the NCAA said.
It explained that the sanctions imposed was in accordance with IS 1.3.3 (14), while the pilot would suffer similar fate in line with IS 1.3.3(11) (15) (e), in lieu of suspension under IS 1.3.3(11)(15)(a) of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations 2015.
The NCAA also explained that the fines were moderate civil penalties for safety rule breaches and ordered the airline and pilot to pay the fine within seven days of receipt of the letter conveying the sanctions. The agency advised all airline operators to familiarize themselves with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs), as violations will attract severe penalties.