Charter operator suspended over illegal flight service
The Federal Government yesterday suspended a charter operator, Executive Jet Services, for airlifting a musician, Azeez Fashola (a.k.a. Naira Marley) to Abuja for a concert.
The airline allegedly breached the flight restriction rules that prohibited all commercial services as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing, said the aircraft, which conveyed the artiste, got special approval to fly an Appeal Court Judge, Justice Adefope Okogie, from Lagos to Abuja.
Sirika said: “The operation is a clear violation of our approval, which we take very seriously. It seems this is becoming a norm. This is the second time. So, Executive Jet Services is hereby suspended indefinitely and will face the law.
“The captain will also be sanctioned for giving wrong information to the control tower. It seems also that people are not tired of trying our resolve and we are not tired of living up to our responsibilities. Governance is a serious matter.”
He said the government would, henceforth, be stricter in granting approvals for private flights.
“The person on that flight conducted a concert. We approved a flight, certainly not for a musician. The flight was approved to convey Honourable Justice Adefope Okogie from Lagos to Abuja and then back to Lagos for an official assignment.
“In this challenging time, in our wisdom, we decided that the judiciary was part of the essential services. Moving a judge from Lagos to Abuja was in order,” he said.
A private jet from the United Kingdom was, in a similar manner, apprehended recently for operating commercial passenger flight services in place of medical emergency flight service that the operator requested.
The airline was fined N1 million.