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NCAA suspends three private jet operators for operating commercial flights

NCAA suspends three private jet operators for operating commercial flights

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has suspended the permit of three private jet operators for engaging in commercial flights.

This was according to a Riot Act on the NCAA’s website on Tuesday, signed by the Acting Director General, Captain Chris Najomo.

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, had on Monday warned private jet operators unlicensed to operate commercial services that their activities were causing the Federal Government a huge loss of revenue.

The minister issued the warning in an interview on Monday.

Keyamo said, “Almost all these private jets are operating commercially resulting in a huge loss of revenue for the Federal Government because the licence to fly a private aircraft privately and the one to fly it commercially is so much.

“When it is commercial, the money paid to the Federal Government is so much. So, people now take licences from us to say I have just bought a private jet and I want to be using it for my business or to fly my friends and family, and we give them at a very low fee.

“However, the moment they are given, they carry passengers all over Nigeria doing six or eight flights a day. This is a notice to them on camera, I am coming for them because the president has given us a marching order, and we are not going to allow it.

“First, in terms of passengers’ safety, the regulation is low. Second, it is economic sabotage and I won’t allow that to happen. People who are my friends or the president’s friends, we will come down on them and, perhaps, ground all their planes. We will come very hard on them. In a matter of days or weeks, we are going to come down on them because we have to raise revenue for the Federal Government, ensure that the laws are kept and ensure the safety of Nigerians.”

However, expediting action on the warning issued, the acting DG of NCAA in a Riot Act on Tuesday, suspended three jet operators found guilty of engaging in commercial flights.

The acting DG disclosed that despite several warnings, these jet operators continued to engage in commercial flight operations, hence their suspension.

The message read, “Back in 2023, the use of private jets for commercial purposes had gotten the attention of the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, SAN, who issued marching orders for the cessation of such acts.

“Subsequently, in March 2024, the NCAA issued a stern warning to holders of the permit for non-commercial flights, PNCF, against engaging in the carriage of passenger-cargo or mail for hire and reward.

“The Authority had also deployed its officials to monitor activities of private jets at terminals across the airports in Nigeria. As a consequence of this heightened surveillance, no fewer than three private operators have been found to be involved in violation of the annexure provision of their PNCF and Part 91.14 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations.”

Najomo noted that suspending the jet operators for flouting several warnings was in line with the Authority’s zero tolerance for violation of regulations.

He continued, “In line with our zero tolerance for violation of regulations, the Authority has suspended the PNCF of these operators. To further sanitise the general aviation sector, I have directed that a re-evaluation of all holders of PNCF be carried out on or before the 19th of April 2024 to ascertain compliance with regulatory requirements.”

The statement further directed that all holders of the Permit for Non-Commercial Flights should submit relevant documents to the Authority within 72 hours.

It added, “All PNCF holders will be required to submit relevant documents to the authority within the next 72 hours.

“This riot act is also directed at existing Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders, who utilize aircraft listed on their PNCF for commercial charter operations.

“It must be emphasised that only aircraft listed in the operation specifications of the AOC are authorised to be used in the provision of such charter services. Any of those AOC holders who wish to use the aircraft for charter operations must apply to the NCAA to delist the affected aircraft from the PNCF and include it in the AOC operations specification.

“NCAA wishes to reiterate to the travelling public not to patronise any airline charter operator who does not hold a valid Air Operators Certificate issued by the NCAA when they wish to procure charter operations services.

“Finally, the NCAA encourages the legitimate players in the aviation industry to report the activity of such unscrupulous elements to the authority promptly for necessary action.”

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