Aero Contractors has been cleared to return to the sky on December 5, 2022. This was made known by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, who on Tuesday in Lagos confirmed to our correspondent that the airline has been cleared having successfully completed the audt of the regulatory body.
Nuhu while speaking on various industry issues also disclosed that the NCAA had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the airline on the payment of its outstanding 5% Ticket Sales Charge (TSC), while clarifying that the airline was not grounded based on safety issues, but for finance sustainability.
“Aero Contractors was not grounded based on safety issues, we did an audit of them because whatever audit you do, you have findings and they were all minor findings. There was no Level 1, 2, 3 findings. They were very insignificant. We notified them. We audited them and we found out that the issue they had was finance sustainability.
“Aviation is safety sensitive and whenever you have financial difficulty, it is just a matter of time, you will not be able to comply with all the regulatory requirements and some may start cutting corners. So, before the financial issue becomes safety issue, we had a discussion with them and they on their own before we took any action, agreed with our findings and suspended their operations to enable them reorganise and get some funding to get more equipment.
“That is what they have done, we sat with them, they submitted, we asked for projection, which they did, we reviewed. The first one wasn’t good enough, they had to go and review it and it was quite satisfactory. We had MoU with them for payment of outstanding 5 per cent on Ticket Sales Charge (TSC).
“So, they are fine. As far as we are concerned, they can resume operations.
On the overall safety in the industry and the need to ensure this goes round all airlines Nuhu said, “We are doing our best to ensure that there is continuous safety in the air and we ensure compliance with all our regulations and recommended practices.
“We work together with the industry to see how we can assist the industry, but the truth of the matter is that the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic did not only put the airlines in a difficult situation, but exposed a lot of fractures within the system. A lot of airlines globally didn’t survive the Covid-19 and some are still being affected from the impact of Covid-19.
“When we thought we were recovering, then we had issues of foreign exchange, Jet A1 crisis, which further put the industry in a very difficult situation. They are trying under difficult circumstances and that increase our workload to continue the surveillance to ensure that safety margins are adhered to and we are getting there.