By Chinelo Obogo
The Senate has directed the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) not to issue an Air Operators Certificate to NG Eagle, the Asset Management Company (AMCON) owned airline over debts owed agencies.
In a letter addressed to the Director General of the NCAA, the chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Smart Adeyemi said his committee received a joint petition from the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Branch, asking it to halt the AOC issuance process until the issue of the debt owed by Arik Air is sorted out.
The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation had also recently received a petition from ANAP and NUP asking it to halt the process of AOC issuance. The chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji gave the directive that the process be stopped causing other unions like National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and organisations like the Aviation Round Table (ART) accusing the National Assembly of political interference. Arik has been under the receivership of AMCON since 2017.
But the Senate said the essence of the suspension is to enable the committee and the relevant authorities carry out a thorough investigation on all allegations leveled by the unions in their petition and said the committee expects full compliance of this directive until a workable solution is achieved.
“The Senate Committee on Aviation has received a joint petition by the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Branch. The joint petition challenges the application for Air Operators Certificate (AOC) by the Asset Management Company (AMCON) to NG Eagle.
“The petition categorically stipulated that the application for AOC unrealistic and unfeasible as the debt profile of Arik Airlines which is presently under receivership by AMCON is enormous. Therefore, the notion that AOC be granted to NG Eagle while it uses Arik aircraft which accounts for part of the assets of Arik Airline will invariably undermine the receivership.
“As a reference point, the unions in their petition has cited the Bellview Airline instance where huge debts owed to agencies before transformation to First Nation Airways are yet to be recovered as we speak.
“Having carefully considered the submission by the unions, the Senate Committee on Aviation hereby directs you to immediately suspend the issuance of AOC to NG Eagle. The essence of the suspension is to enable the committee and the relevant authorities carry out a thorough investigation on all allegations levelled by the unions in their petition. The committee expects full compliance of this directive until a workable solution is achieved,” the letter read.
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