FirstNation Airways has denied any wrongdoing after the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, slammed a N32 million fine on the airline for violating the provisions of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, NCAR.
In a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, the airline said the fine imposed on it was arbitrary and at variance with the levels set out in the relevant section of the NCAR.
“The essence of (NCAR) is corrective rather than cause airline injury and we will be working the appeal and review of the sanction with NCAA,” the airline said in a statement signed by Rasheed Yusuf.
The NCAA had also accused the airline’s Pilots-In-Command (PIC) of breaching air safety regulations and fined him N1.5 million.
The agency stated, Sunday, that a Letter of Sanction conveying the penalties had been sent to the FirstNation Airways.
According to the NCAA, a Ramp Inspection was carried out on the airline’s Airbus A319 Aircraft with registration mark 5N-FNE at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The PIC was also discovered to not be in possession a current medical certificate, the agency added.
“Consequent upon this, a Letter of Investigation was sent to the airline and the pilot,” Sam Adurogboye, NCAA’s spokesperson, said on Sunday.
“However, in their response, the pilot admitted violating NCARs, while the airline demonstrated lack of thorough knowledge of the requirements of the regulations.”
But the airline has denied admitting any wrongdoing in the incident.
“We are surprised that the NCAA press release did not contain the fact that we immediately filed an appeal against the sanctions in accordance with the requirements of Nig.CARs 1.10,” FirstNation Airways said.
“The fact that NCAA elected to go public on a Sunday, without any need to rush to media and by deliberately withholding the fact that we have appealed the sanctions in accordance with the relevant regulation is in bad faith and showed the Authority’s tendency of regulation by media in a very sensitive industry.”
The airline insisted that on the day their ramp was inspected, its captain’s valid medical licence was available.
“We have also drawn NCAA’s attention to the need to address the bureaucracy associated with the general licence and medical renewals process with the Authority,” the airline continued.
“We will cooperate with NCAA in working to improve the current challenges with respect to licence renewal.”