Another local carrier, First Nation Airline, has suspended flight operations today.
This is coming on the heels of Aero Contractors Airlines’ suspension of all scheduled flights in the country.
The Director-General of the he Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Muhtar Usman, said the airline took the decision so as that First Nations Airlines would execute maintenance operations on its fleet.
Captain Usman countered claims that some of the domestic airlines were winding down their operations regardless of the fact that they had suspended flight services.
“The First Nation Airlines on its part is in the middle of an Engine Replacement Program for one of its aircrafts.
“Another aircraft is due for mandatory maintenance as allowed by the regulatory authority.
“In these circumstances, these airlines clearly cannot continue to undertake schedule operations, hence the inevitable recourse to self-regulatory suspension.
They are merely suspending their operations temporarily to enable them undertake certain operational overhaul and strengthen their overall operational outlay,” NCAA said.
This news house is not buying NCAA’s story.
Here is how airlines maintenance operations are executed: Typically, airlines that send planes on routine maintenance lease another plane to cover the period if they have a small fleet.
Since it is programmed way ahead, they have enough time to arrange the lease.
In the case of First Nations Airlines, the reverse is the case. The firm is simply closing shop. This is probably related to the same issue Aero Contractors raised.
Simply put: it is becoming difficult to cover operational cost due to dwindling economic fortunes.
Recall that Buhari’s sister’s son, Hadi Sirika, is the Aviation Minister.
Aisha Abubakar, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Investment is also Buhari’s sister’s daughter.
The aviation industry have been hit by a series of problems including lack of aviation fuel, massing dumping of Nigerian airspace by foreign airlines, and darkness in airports.