NCAA downgrades Med-View’s operation, to withdraw licence
• Management, workers panic over prolong shutdown
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has disclosed plans to withdraw the operating certificate of Med-View Airline Plc by November, over prolonged shutdown of commercial operations.
The withdrawal notice was in line with the Nigerian Civil Aviation’s Regulations (Nig. CARs) that prohibit non-usage of operating licence for between three to nine months or violation of its provisions.
The Guardian learnt that the NCAA had since downgraded the airlines’ scheduled operation to the status of chartered operator. The apex regulator, however, still awaits the revival of its operations accordingly, without which the licence withdrawal will take effect.
The new twist to a festering distress at Med-View has also thrown the management and workers into panic mode. It was learnt that while the management were jostling to return at least an aircraft into operation, its workers had begun to seek new vacancies elsewhere amid uncertainties at Med-View.
Recall that the airline shut down operations early August over protracted financial and operational difficulties.
Following a report by The Guardian, the management had denied a shut down, but admitted to a temporary blackout to attend to maintenance of its operating aircraft, and set to resume operations in a matter of days.
Instead of returning to operations, the airline’s last set of workers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminal II (MMA2) booking counter had lately left and shut the office.
A staffer of the airline yesterday, said: “despite efforts by the management, there is no hope on the horizon.”
She said although the airline lately paid one month salary out of between six month to one year backlog (depending on the category of a worker), “fears keep mounting over the fate of the airline.”
“We learnt that the NCAA will withdraw the licence by November 10. Everyone is panicking. I know some colleagues that had simply sought new jobs and moved on. Even me, I have been submitting my résumé for jobs lately. Nobody seems to understand what the CEO is doing with the airline,” she said.
The NCAA yesterday confirmed the licence withdrawal threat. Spokesperson of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said in line with the provisions of the civil aviation regulation, the airline’s operation had been downgraded to non-scheduled operations as a stop-gap measure to keep the airline running till its gets out of the woods.
Unlike scheduled operation that requires a minimum of two aircraft according to Nig. CARs, non-scheduled or chartered allows for an aircraft.
Adurogboye added that the airline has till November end to begin chartered operations; otherwise, its operating licence would be withdrawn in accordance to the rules.
“The position of NCAA on Med-View is they should ensure that they start using their AOC for charter operations only between now and November ending. Failure to which their AOC will lapse in line with the provisions of Nig. CARs,” he said.
The Chief Operating Officer of Med-View was reached on the development. He, however, declined reaction, saying the management had been in a long discussion. Subsequent enquiries via text message were not replied.
Med-View is the only local commercial operator quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). But the airline has lately been in dire straits, posting at its last July annual general meeting a record after-tax loss of N10.33 billion – a 293 per cent drop from 2017 profit.
The management, at the stormy Y2018 general meeting in Lagos, pleaded with stakeholders to bear with the zero dividend declared, as it assured that fortunes would soon improve when three aircraft on routine C-checks return to operations.
Recall that the airline pulled out of the London Gatwick and Dubai routes last year after a brief stint in the international market, citing harsh local operating environment, and aircraft leasing programme that went awry amid aggressive aeropolitics.
The workers also felt the pinch. Between November 2017 and June 2018, the airline laid off a huge chunk of its workforce especially the outstation offices.
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