NCAA releases grounded UK plane after payment of N7m penalty

ncaa-airport-aviationTHE Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday said it had released one of the two-grounded foreign registered aircraft after its owners paid a N7 million fine to the agency.

NCAA had grounded two foreign registered aircraft, Bombardier 700-100 with registration marks G-RBEN Global express S/N 9083 operated by Gama Aviation, United (UK) limited and Embraer 135 J with registration marks XA-MHA for violating Nigeria’s airspace.

In a related development, determined to buttress their grievances towards owing airlines in the aviation industry, aviation workers under the aegis of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), yesterday grounded activities at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos for three hours.

The two unions members barricaded the gates leading to the premises of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The operator of G-RBEN aircraft were found operating in Nigeria’s airspace with falsified flight clearance information and conducting illegal domestic flight operations in Nigeria.

The Acting General Manager Public Relations of NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye affirmed yesterday that the Gama Aviation, United Kingdom had paid the fine to the agency.

He noted that the owner of the Bombardier 700-100 also paid about $20,000 to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) for violating the Air Traffic Controllers’ regulation.

According to NCAA, preliminary investigations revealed that the Embraer 135BJ registration marks XA-MHA was reported to have landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, from London, Farnborough without any flight clearance on the 10th of September 2015.

The two unions members had barricaded the gates leading to the premises of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The protest which started at about 8 a.m, with over 200 workers barricading FAAN’s premises and were carrying placards with inscriptions such as, “Arik wants to kill the industry”, “FAAN Management, collect our money from Arik”, “My people, Arik wants to kill aviation, “Arik, enemy of Nigeria aviation.”

Addressing the gathering, the General Secretary of NUATE, Comrade Olayinka Abioye said Arik airline alone owed FAAN, N25 billion and gave all debtors to all agencies one week to settle their debts.

Abioye urged workers of various agencies to brace up for battle against debtor airlines.
Abioye noted that the protest was a wake up call to the greatest debtor in the aviation industry.“As we speak today, Arik is owing FAAN more than N25 billion. With that kind of debt, FAAN has found it difficult to fulfill its obligation to its workers and develop other infrastructure that it is saddle with.

Apart from FAAN, Arik is also owing other government parastatals huge some of money running into billions,” Abioye added.
Also addressing the workers, the president of ATSSSAN Comrade Benjamin Okewu said the debt profile by Arik Air was becoming too alarming, adding that bleak future awaited all debtor airlines, as it will never be business as usual.

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