NCAA grounds 10 illegal operators over $15 million revenue loss, drug trafficking, security, others


  • Owners to commence recertification process

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023 Part 18.3.4 forbids holders of PNCF from using their aircraft for carriage of passengers, cargo or email for hire or reward (commercial operation or charter services)

As a result of flagrant disregard of this rule, the NCAA had earlier directed all holders of PNCF to undergo re-evaluation which should have been concluded by April 19th, 2024.

Consequently, the NCAA has suspended the permit for non-commercial flights of Azikel Dredging Nigeria Ltd, Bli-Aviation Safety Services, Ferry Aviation Developments Ltd, Matrix Energy Ltd, Marrietta Management Services Ltd, Worldwide Skypaths Services, Mattini Airline Services Ltd, Aero Lead Ltd, Sky Bird Air Ltd and Ezuma Jets Ltd.

For months, the NCAA had expressed concern over the dangerous activities of some private jet operators. Aside from that, the aviation regulatory body was equally concerned that the illegal activities of the jet operators using them for drug trafficking, gun running and others cost the aviation sector more than $15 million annually in loss revenue.

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It warned holders of Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF) also known as private jet owners to desist from engaging in commercial flight operations forthwith or face stiff penalties.

It will be noted that holders of PNCF are not permitted to use their aircraft for carriage of passengers, cargo mail for hire or reward which amounts to commercial operations or charter services.

In line with Section 32 (4) of the Civil Aviation Act 2022, the NCAA said it will not hesitate to initiate enforcement actions against any PNCF holder found guilty of illegal operations with suspension, withdrawal or revocation of their Permit for Non-Commercial flight.

It also notified that it is illegal to engage PNCF holders for commercial purposes. The NCAA will not hesitate to initiate enforcement actions against any PNCF holder found guilty of illegal operations.

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Furthermore, NCAA officials were deployed to General Aviation Terminals (GAT) and private wings of the airports to monitor the activities of the PNCF holders.

Penultimate week, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo accused some private aircraft operating in Nigeria are being used for money laundering, drug trafficking and other illegal activities.

Keyamo made the revelation at the Ministry of Aviation in Abuja yesterday, when he inaugurated a Ministerial Taskforce Committee to checkmate illegal chartered operations in the country.

Though the minister did not mention the names of the airlines, he asserted that these illegal activities have made the sector lose billions of dollars and raised serious security concerns.

The minister further stated that some of those involved in the illegal activities are those who acquired licences for non-commercial flight operations but gone against the stipulated agreement of the licence.

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He mandated that they take inventory of all non-commercial flight operators, investigate all professional licences and checkmate their authenticity as well as recommend disciplinary measures against airlines found culpable.

“It has come to my attention, through a series of disturbing reports, that the practice of illegal charter operations is thriving within the aviation industry, thereby undermining the efforts of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and other regulatory bodies. These illicit activities have not only resulted in significant financial losses to the Federal Government but have also raised security and safety concerns as the operations of private aircraft owners have remained largely unchecked and unregulated. This has also resulted in using these private aircraft for other illegal activities”, he said.

Wole Shadare

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