Aviation union decries domestic airlines short life span | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Aviation union decries domestic airlines short life span

Posted: Apr 17, 2015 at 4:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The National President of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN), Comrade Benjamin Okewu, said that the union is not comfortable with the rate at which domestic airlines in the country are dying few years after commencing operations.

The matter is further compounded by the sudden death of Discovery Air whose Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC )was suspended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) for safety and other breaches that contradicts provisions of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation(NCARs).

It will be recalled that NCAA suspended Discovery Air AOC in late 2014 barely six months after it was issued on June 4, 2014. The suspended airline as at the time of compiling this report would have to commence the process of getting AOC all over again having stopped operations for several months.

Okewu, who spoke in an exclusive interview, said that though ATSSSAN is worried about the development, he however said that there is nothing the group can do because airline business is a free market.

He said that since ATSSSAN cannot stop airlines from springing up, what it has done is liaise with the regulatory body; NCAA to strictly enforce its economic regulations as it concerns airlines.

According to him, “Airline business is a free entry and free exit market. For us at the level of the union we are not comfortable with it .We cannot stop airlines from coming up. What we have tried to do of recent is to as much as possible liaise with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to enforce some of the regulatory responsibilities bestowed on them, particularly when we talk about economic regulation .If you look at NCAA Act and then you go to the economic regulatory aspect, you find out that the regulatory agency has a key responsibility in monitoring the finances of airlines”.

Okewu said that there is the need for NCAA to frequently monitor to ensure that domestic airlines in the country is financially stable, that the funds coming to the airlines are not diverted, that even when airlines collect finances; going to get one or two facilities from banks, they are not wasted or diverted for other reasons other than for airlines operations.

He lamented that airline business in Nigeria has turned to mere buying and selling, adding that NCAA has not done well in the area of ensuring that domestic airlines in the country have cash flow to effectively run their operations to  prevent from cutting corners.