The Nigerian aviation regulatory agency, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), sanctioned 79 safety violators between October 2014 and December 2016, SaharaReporters has learned.
The agency also imposed an aggregate fine of N136.6 million on violators of safety and security regulations. These included airlines, pilots, engineers, cabin crew members and a security firm.
A document exclusively made available to SaharaReporters by a Ministry of Transport (Aviation Division) source indicated that 11 pilots, three crew-members, two aircraft engineers and one approved maintenance organization (AMO) were among those sanctioned during the period.
The document showed that in October 2014, the NCAA grounded an aircraft operated by the owner airline beyond the six-year maintenance due date, a serious safety violation. In November 2014, the NCAA sanctioned another airline for operating an aircraft without an escalation approval, while another was issued a warning notice in December of the same year for failure to provide aircraft approved maintenance programme (AMP) to aircraft maintenance organization (AMO) that maintains its aircraft.
Also in December 2014, another carrier, whose pilot violated flight clearance directives, was fined N4 million.
The same month, the NCAA issued a warning notice to another carrier for “unsatisfactory financial health.”
In January 2015, NCAA sanctioned airlines and a pilot for various safety violations. Among the infractions were carrying out of pre-flight inspection procedure without using the prescribed checklist, non-entry of defects in the aircraft technical logbook, delays and cancellations of flights. Others were maintenance without current manual, improper work environment, failure to submit financial returns and irregularities in maintenance procedures and records.
The NCAA fined two airlines a combined sum of N6 million (N3 million each) for safety violations. In February 2015, two airlines were fined a combined sum of N14.2 million. According to the document obtained by SaharaReporters, the carriers were fined for “late reporting of MOR, operating an aircraft that was not air worthy, operating the aircraft using bogus nose wheel without air worthiness approval and operating of aircraft after the expiration of FOCC and MCC.”
In March 2015, it was the turn of five airlines and a security firm, Proton Security Services Limited, to be sanctioned by the NCAA. They were found guilty for safety and security violations and fined a combined sum of N30.5 million. One of the airlines was fined N12.5 million for non-adherence to operations specifications approved by the NCAA. The other was fined N18 million for “failure to record snag and maintenance action.”
The document added that the NCAA suspended Proton Security Services Limited from operating and ordered an investigation, via a letter, into the activities of an airline for delays and cancellation of flights. In April 2015, two airlines were issued warning notices for “failure to file copies of agreement” and “unfit financial health”.
In May and June 2015, five airlines were sanctioned and slammed with a total fine of N2 million for various violations. Three of the affected airlines were sanctioned in May. The NCAA also issued letter of investigation to an airline in July 2015 for “operating of aircraft after the expiration of FOCC and MCC.” It fined another airline N5 million in August of the same year for safety violation.
In September 2015, the regulatory agency fined four airlines a combined sum of N10 million for “non-filing of fares and tariffs”, “expiration of FOCC, MCC, maintenance manual and record, i.e camp report on board the aircraft was out-dated and some maintenance in the tech log were signed by non-licensed personnel,” “deviation from clearances, providing false information in the applications for clearance and conduct of commercial operation,” and “flying after expiration of flight clearance.”
The next month, three airlines were sanctioned, with one of the violators fined N1.2 million for “obtaining flight clearance on Falcon 900 Ex S/N 616 based on misleading information while the other was issued letter of investigation and letter of warning.” Between November and December 2015, nine airlines were sanctioned for violations and fined a combined N24.2 million.
A prominent name among those sanctioned was Aero Contractors, which was punished for using a ladder to disembark passengers from a Boeing 737-500 aircraft in the absence of ground handling services. Aero Contractors was fined N200,000. On 20 December 2015, an Aero Contractors flight from Abuja to Bauchi Airport had caused consternation in the Nigerian aviation industry on when it first surfaced on SaharaReporters that the airline used an unconventional method to disembark passengers. The airline, SaharaReporters gathered, resorted to the use of a ladder when the equipment for disembarking passengers was not available at the airport.
Between January and December 2016 the NCAA sanctioned 24 airlines, pilots, engineers and cabin crew members for varying degrees of violations. During the same period, it fined the defaulting airlines a total of N28.7 million.
The document indicated than one of the airlines was fined N13.2 million for breaching aviation security (AVSEC) directives and failure to adhere to approved security programme. Another carrier copped a fine of N9 million for operating an aircraft without a valid airworthiness certificate, special flight permit and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria’s special flight authorization. Yet another was sanctioned for operating 10 flights with an expired medical certificate in addition to the subject aircraft not being listed on their operations specifications.