The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has declared that the former domestic carrier, Chanchangi Airlines, no longer has operational Air Operators’ Certificate (AOC).
This is as the regulatory body said there is no controversy about the status of the airline, as its operations remain grounded.
A statement by the General Manager, NCAA Public Affairs, Sam Adurogboye, said the organisation's decision on the airline was in accordance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015, Part 126.96.36.199(a).
Adurogboye explained that for the AOC of a scheduled operator like Chanchangi to remain valid, it must not cease operations for up to 30 days, while for non-scheduled, it can only remain valid for 90 days of non-operations.
Chanchangi Airlines was suspended in 2013 by the former Director-General of NCAA, Captain Fola Akinkuotu, when its operational aircraft reduced to just one from 11 at the time.
The statement read: “Except as provided in paragraph (b) of the section, no AOC holder may conduct a kind of operation for which it holds authority in its operations specifications, unless the AOC holder has conducted that kind of operation within the preceding number of consecutive calendar days specified in this paragraph: For scheduled operations - 30 days.
“For non-scheduled operations, 90 days except that if the AOC holder had authority to conduct scheduled operations, and has conducted scheduled operations within the previous 30 days, this paragraph does not apply. In other words it is not obtaining the AOC that is the most important, what defines an airline is the validity of its operational specifications.”
Adurogboye noted that since the airline in question was not operational, there was no way it could be issued a new AOC, stressing that it got the AOC when it was operating a Boeing 737 for cargo operations.
He said at the expiration of the mandatory number of days for initial operation as specified in NigCARs, the sanction was automatically activated and the airline had remained grounded ever since. The B737 aircraft, which it used for cargo, was leased by another airline and was at present unserviceable due to lack of maintenance.
However, investigation carried out by SaharaReporters indicated that there might have been some irregularities with the renewal of AOC of the airline by NCAA.
The document NCAA/DOT/CAL/VOL II/00117 issued on January 24, 2017 to the Managing Director of Chanchangi Airlines titled: ‘Renewal of Air Operators Certificate Number AFF/C/006’ was signed by the Director of Operations and Training, Captain A.M. Sidi for the Director General, Captain Mukhar Usman.
The document held that the AOC was valid from February 5, 2017 till February 4, 2019 for Passenger and Cargo. However the CAA said as at the time of the renewal, the Chanchangi Airlines was still airlifting cargo and when it no longer had the aircraft to continue that operation, its AOC was suspended after three months.
The AOC read: “Please find enclosed, a copy of your renewed Air Operators Certificate (AOC) for your retention. Your AOC becomes invalidated if you fail to comply with the relevant Nigerian CARS and may be amended in accordance with the provisions of Part 188.8.131.52.
“We therefore urge you to ensure that the management and staff of Chanchangi Airlines ensure strict compliance with all regulatory requirements at all time. Accept the assurances of our highest regards.”