Discovery Air takes steps to lift suspension order by NCAA
DISCOVERY Air on Wednesday commenced series of meetings with passengers and their legal representatives that lodged complaints with it and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA).
The meetings, it was learnt is part of efforts by the start up carrier to restore the suspension of its operating license by the NCAA.
The NCAA on Tuesday announced the suspension of the Air Operators’ Certificate ( AOC), over failure by the airline’s management to meet certain lapses pointed out in its operations .
Speaking in an interview, chairman of Discovery Air, Mr Babatunde Babalola said the airline has commenced the resolution of issues raised by the NCAA in the last audit it carried out on the carrier .
Babalola said the NCAA wrote a letter to the airline to inform it of lapses in its operations, which, he said bordered on cancelled and delayed flights during the Xmas holidays .
He said the airline has started meeting with the affected over 100 passengers to address the infraction resulting from the flight disruption .
Babalola said refunds of tickets have been made to some passengers, while the airline management is meeting with some passengers who sent legal representations .
He said plans are afoot to offer 25 per cent rebate on return air fares to passengers that were affected by the disruption inflight , affirming that the airline will comply with all requirements spelt out by the NCAA to enable it regain its license to resume operations .
He clarified that the issues leading to the suspension of its AOC bordered on cancelled and delayed flights and not safety related challenges as being touted in some quarters.
He said the airline complied with the observations raised by the NCAA, before its license was suspended.
His words: “We are complying already with the regulation . We have started having meetings with the over 100 passengers and their lawyers that were affected during the flight disruption between December 24 and 26, 2014.
We have made ticket refunds to some of the passengers , and we have promised to offer them 25 per cent rebate on subsequent trips when we resume flights. We do not intend to embarrass our passengers, we did everything legal during the period.
For passengers that had to fly other airlines we have reached out to them to resolve the payment of their tickets .
We have written to the passengers on our next steps at resolving the issues and urged them to acknowledge our letters to enable us get to the next level. As an airline , Discovery Air remains committed to good service and we are ready to serve our esteemed passengers when we resume .”
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA), three days ago suspended the Air Operators’ Certificate ( AOC) of the airline. It commenced flight operations last year
The suspension of the airline’s license, the NCAA said, is predicated on failure by the operator to correct certain actions raised on its operations in an audit carried out by the regulatory authority .
The NCAA according to its deputy general manager, public affairs, Mr Sam Adurogboye took the safety steps after it served a warning letter to the defaulting operator.
He said the suspension will take immediate effect, as the certificate could be restored after the operator complies with the statutory regulation.
The NCAA said it will ground any airlines that fails to comply with safety regulations.
In that statement, the NCAA said : “In pursuit of its oversight responsibilities as stipulated by law, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority [NCAA] has lately carried out a review of the operations of some Domestic Airlines after which letters of warning or suspension of Air Operator’s Certificate [AOC] were served on defaulters.
“A case in point is an Airline that failed to carry out certain corrective actions within one week from the 1st to 7th of January, 2015 as raised in an earlier letter to the operator.
Consequent upon the inability to address the issues raised, the Authority in its 8th of January, 2015 letter to the operator declared, “the Authority pursuant to Section 35 and [b] of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 and Part 126.96.36.199.3[a]  of the Nig. CARs 2009, hereby suspends the Air Operator’s Certificate [AOC] of Discovery Airways Limited’’ .
“The suspension takes effect from the 8th of January 2015, the date of the letter conveying the notice. This order would be in force pending the outcome of a comprehensive review of the Airline’s operations to be carried out accordingly.
As much as it is not the desire of NCAA to regulate any Airline out of existence, the Authority however viewed any violation of safety regulations seriously.”