FirstNation Airways has lost an appeal over the fine of N33.5 million as sanction on it and one of its pilot over the violation of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.
A five- man Appeal panel set up to hear the appeal after four days of sitting, submissions and deliberations the panel upheld and reiterated the applicable sanctions meted out to the airline and its Pilot.
This was contained in the Report submitted by the Panel to the Regulatory Authority at the conclusion of its sitting.
The airline and it’s Pilot were fined N32 million naira and N1.5 million naira being moderate civil penalty for the violation.
The airline was said to have violated the civil aviation Act for rostering the Pilot to carry out operational flights when his medical certificate had expired and the pilot too for carrying an expired medical certificate.
Management of First Nation Airways had swiftly filed an appeal to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in disagreement with the reported violations and sanctions.
According to the spokesman for the NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye for fairness and justice to all, an appeal committee was constituted to hear the airlines appeal.
The five-man appeal panel had three airline operators, a private legal luminary and NCAA officials as observers while First Nation Airways was represented by four Lawyers, the Pilot and three management staff.
violations were detected during a ramp inspection on the airlines aircraft, Airbus A319, on the 8th of November, 2016, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
It arrived at the following conclusions in agreement with the NCAA findings prelude to the application of sanctions.
The ATRL 1874 License of the Pilot in Command of First Nation Airways had expired on the 2nd November, 2016.
The PIC was not in possession of the License during the Ramp inspection on the 8th November, 2016.
The PIC did not have a valid License and was not properly certified from 2nd – 8thNovember, 2016.
The PIC operated 15 flights and the airline roastered the PIC 16 times.
The PIC operated with expired License from 2nd to 8th November,2016 and there all indications that the Airline knew the PIC did not have a valid license.
This is a very serious safety issue therefore the moderate sanctions applied by the NCAA were reasonable under the circumstances.
The PIC’s argument that he had a valid license when he operated the flights is incorrect, as he had no valid Medical Certificate.
The PIC had 14 days according to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations NCARs to apply before the expiration of the license. However, he did not apply until 3rdNovember, 2016, after expiration.
The invoice was issued by NCAA on the 3rd November,2016.The Pilot did not do the Cardiac Risk Assessment (CRA) test mandatory for his 62 years age even after he was informed by NCAA the Authorised Aviation Medical Examiner (AAME). He did the medical assessment eventually.
The CRA report was dated 7th November, 2016 and was sent to NCAA on the 8thNovember, 2016.Therefore, the accusation of delay and inefficiency by theAuthority is wrong and unfounded. The PIC and the Airline did not follow laid down procedure.
NCAA received the medical report same day, reviewed it and issued the Medical Certificate same day on the 8th November, 2016.
The Panel hereby dismissed all grounds of appeal and upholds the NCAA’s Letters of Sanctions in respect of First Nation Airways and it’s Pilot.
The NCAA spokesman says the, “Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will continue to provide level playing field to all Airline Operators.However, failure to adhere to safety regulations shall attract applicable sanctions”.