*Experts chide lawmakers, warn of consequences
Amid the public outcry over threats to undermine the independence of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) by the House of Representatives by directing the aviation regulatory body to withhold the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of NG Eagle, the Senate has equally mandated the NCAA to suspend the issuance of AOC to the soon-to-be-airline over protracted labour-related issues with Arik Air workers.
The Senate Committee on Aviation on Thursday joined its counterpart at the House of Representatives to direct the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to stop forthwith, the issuance of the AOC to NG Eagle, an airline being muted by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
A letter signed by the chairman of the committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi, to the NCAA on October 11, 2021, made reference to a joint petition to the Senate by the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals and National Union of Pensioners, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) branch, challenging the issuance of the AOC over huge debts to FAAN.
“The petition categorically stipulated that the application for AOC is unrealistic and unfeasible as the debt profile of Arik Air which is presently under receivership by AMCON is enormous. Therefore, the notion that AOC be granted to NG Eagle while it uses Arik Air aircraft which accounts for part of the assets of Arik Air will invariably undermine the receivership.
“Having carefully considered the submission by the unions, the Senate Committee on Aviation in consonance with the House Committee on Aviation hereby directs you to immediately suspend the issuance of AOC to NG Eagle. The essence of this suspension is to enable the committee and relevant authorities to carry out a thorough investigation on all allegations levelled by the unions in the petition. The Committee expects full compliance with this directive until a workable resolution is achieved,” the letter reads.
The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, had last week, directed also the NCAA not to issue the AOC to the Nigeria Eagle Airline being midwife by AMCON.
But the Aviation Round Table (ART), condemned the interference by the House of Representatives in the issues involving the issuance of the Air Operator’s Certificate to NG Eagle by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)
Former Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi also expressed disappointment with pronouncements coming from the National Assembly, describing it as a gross undermining of the NCAA’s regulatory functions.