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Senate backtracks on order to withhold NG Eagle’s operating certificate

By Wole Oyebade
21 October 2021   |   4:09 am
The Senate Committee on Aviation, yesterday, made a U-turn on its directive ordering the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to suspend the process of awarding Air Operating Certificate (AOC) to NG Eagle airline.

NG Eagle. Photo/ONYEGIST

The Senate Committee on Aviation, yesterday, made a U-turn on its directive ordering the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to suspend the process of awarding Air Operating Certificate (AOC) to NG Eagle airline.

The committee, at the opening of the 50th yearly general meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), in Abuja, said the committee was misinformed, adding that the lawmakers frown at political interference in the affairs of the NCAA.

The committee had, in a letter signed by its Chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi, ordered the withdrawal to enable lawmakers to investigate issues surrounding the controversial carrier.

The Senate’s intervention, which has been described as “meddling in regulatory affairs of aviation”, was not unconnected with the protest by a section of the unions that had kicked against the move to set up a new airline from the assets of Arik Air.

Member of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Ibn Na’Allah, said that the committee was misled on the controversial issue of NG Eagle’s AOC and apologised to Nigerians.

Na’Allah urged the NCAA to go ahead with its duties and perform its statutory functions, as the regulator, without interference.

“The Senate does not wish to interfere in the statutory functions of the NCAA,” he said.

Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, however, pledged that the aeronautical allowances of workers of the agency would be enhanced to reflect the economic situation in the country.

Akinkoutu also expressed worry over the death rate among Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) in the last few years, saying the management was alive to its responsibility in areas of workers welfare.

Besides, the Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, in his goodwill message, acknowledged the contributions of ATCs to air safety in the country and urged them to continue to put in their best.