First Nation Airways grounded operations on Monday, as the only airplane in its fleet was not functional.
A source close to the airline explained to SaharaReporters that First Nation used to have two Airbus A319 jets, but was reduced to one last November. The only serviceable aircraft in the airline’s fleet on Sunday was not fit to fly due to a technical problem, forcing the airline to temporarily close down.
Our correspondent discovered that the A319 aircraft with the registration number 5N-FND had been parked at the apron of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2) since November 2016.
The source revealed that the aircraft needs to have its engine changed before it can take flight, which would cost several billions of naira.
“We have finally suspended our operations today because we no longer have any serviceable aircraft in our fleet,” the source told our correspondent. “As you know, one of our aircraft has been parked at MMA2 for over four months and suddenly, the only aircraft we were using had a technical fault, which technically means that we can’t operate again.
“This is really devastating and the workers are in a dilemma at the moment. We are, however, waiting for directives from the management on what next to do.”
When our correspondent contacted the General Manager, Public Affairs of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr. Sam Adurogboye, he confirmed the development.
Mr. Adurogboye, however, said in a text message that the airline suspended operations due to lack of a flight crew.
The text message reads: “First Nation grounded its operations on its own because the airline has no flight crew at the moment.”
It would be recalled that First Nation grounded operations in August 2016.
The airline received its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the NCAA in 2011, but it has faced numerous obstacles ever since.
In 2012, shortly after the Dana Air aircraft crash of June 3, 2012, the airline suspended flight operations, as its three Airbus A320s were repossessed by its lessor, the Aviation Capital Group.
A year later, 2013, the aircraft resumed flight operations with daily flights to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.