Local carrier, FirstNation Airways, will return to business on September 15, an official said on Monday.
Rasheed Yusuf, FirstNation’s Head of Corporate Affairs, said the airline suspended operations last week to carry out routine maintenance on its fleet in line with safety standards and regulations.
Mr. Yusuf’s statement came a few days after the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority announced that FirstNation had been ordered to shut down operations indefinitely because one of its fleet was undergoing repairs.
“In these circumstances, these airlines clearly cannot continue to undertake schedule operations, hence the inevitable recourse to self-regulatory suspension,” the NCAA said in a statement signed by the Director-General, Mukhtar Usman. “It is against the Nigerian civil aviation regulations for airline operators to carry out scheduled commercial operations with only one aircraft.”
The development sparked speculation that the airline had shut down out of financial distress like Aero Contractors, another local carrier that shut down a day before on August 31.
But Mr. Yusuf said FirstNation was not experiencing financial crisis and it would resume scheduled flights in the days ahead.
“FirstNation is not on the verge of folding up. In reality, since the airline launched services in 2011, the airline has built a strong followership and has been rated consistently as market leader on safety and schedule integrity,” Mr. Yusuf said.
Nigeria’s economic crisis had seen operational costs, including the prices of aviation fuel, skyrocket in recent months, forcing some international airlines to source fuel and engine parts from other West African countries.
Consequently, local and international flights operators recently hiked prices of their tickets.