First Nation Airways (FNA) which was fined N33.5 million by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for violating safety regulations has accused the agency of acting in bad faith by rushing to the media to announce the fine.
The airline said in a statement issued in Lagos that NCAA’s action “did not contain the fact that we immediately filed an appeal against the sanctions in accordance with the requirements of Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 1.10.”
“We are surprised that the NCAA press release did not contain the fact that we immediately filed an appeal against the sanctions in accordance with the requirements of Nig. CARs 1.10.
“The fact that NCAA elected to go public…and by deliberately withholding the fact that we have appealed the sanctions in accordance with the relevant regulation is in bad faith and showed the Authority’s tendency of regulation by media in a very sensitive industry.
“It is our position that on the day that the said flight was ramp inspected, the Captain had a valid medical license. We have also drawn NCAA’s attention to the need to address the bureaucracy associated with the general licence and medical renewals process with the Authority,” said the airline.
FNA said it will cooperate with NCAA in working to improve the current challenges with respect to License renewal.
However, it said: “The airline admit no wrong doing and despite this position consider the level of financial fine arbitrary and at variance with the levels set out in the relevant section of Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs).
“The essence of Nig.CARs is corrective rather than cause airline injury and we will be working the appeal and review of the sanction with NCAA.
FNA is committed to best industry practice and respect for regulation and take the safety seriously,” said the airline.
It would be recalled that NCAA imposed a fine of N33.5 on the airline its pilots a for contravening safety regulations
In a letter conveying the penalties, the carrier was ordered to pay N32, 000,000 while the pilot-in-command was fined N1, 500,000.
NCAA the pilot operated 16 scheduled flights between November 2nd and 8th 2016 with expired medical certificate which invariably rendered his pilot’s licence invalid.
The agency said during a ramp inspection Airbus A319 Aircraft with registration mark 5N-FNE at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), it was discovered that the pilot-in-command was not in personal possession of a current medical certificate neither was it readily accessible.
It said the pilot admitted violating Nig.CARs while the airline demonstrated lack of thorough knowledge of the requirements of the Regulations.
“The airline has contravened the Regulations by allowing a flight crew member to be rostered to operate a total of 16 scheduled flights on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th November, 2016.
“These operations were carried out while his medical certificate had expired since on the 1st November, 2016, thereby rendering his pilot’s licence subsequently invalid from that date.
“In light of these, the airline is hereby sanctioned in accordance with IS 1.3.3 (14) while the Pilot suffered 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 Nig.CARs 2015.
“On this strength, the airline is required to pay a total sum of N32,000,000 while the pilot will pay N1.5 million being moderate civil penalty for the violation,” said NCAA.