The Federal Government has penalised a British airline, Flairjet, for operating commercial flights into Nigeria without approval.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made this revelation on Sunday via his Twitter handle.
He said the airline contravened section 1.3.3 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations 2015.
Sirika said the airline’s “callous misdemeanor” has been reported to the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority, and other British authorities.
“Flairjet were found to violate our Civil Aviation Regulations IS 1.3.3(a) Table 2(IV)7(a) and IS 1.3.3 (a) Table 2(VIII)(4). The maximum penalty for each is N500,000:00K. We caused them to pay and reported their callous misdemeanor to UK CAA, MFA and the UK High Commission,” the minister tweeted.
Part of NCAR referred stated, “126.96.36.199.—(a) Any person, other than a person conducting an operation in commercial air transport or international commercial air transport, who violates any provision of the Civil Aviation Act, these Regulations, or any order issued there under, is subject to a civil penalty imposed by the Authority in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Aviation Act and these Regulations.”
Other sub-sections stated that the Authority can issue a Warning Notice that “recite available facts and information about the incident or condition and indicate that it may have been a violation or a Letter of Correction which confirms the Authority’s decision in the matter and states the necessary corrective action the alleged violator has taken or agreed to take”.
The company had applied for humanitarian flights but was caught operating commercial flights into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on May 17.
“This company applied severally as to operate humanitarian flights and we did approve. It is very clear at the beginning of this exercise that we defined what those flights should be: essential flights basically – cargo, medical evacuation, medical supplies, and so on and so forth.
“Unfortunately, this company decided to become commercial in their service, charging money and flying people in and out.
“In the first place, the whole essence of a lockdown is to ensure there is no movement of persons freely because this COVID-19 we are all spending sleepless nights for happened because somebody travelled abroad. So, we believe this shouldn’t happen.
“Current status, we are investigating the matter right now, it would finish very soon. The crew is British nationals. The pilots are subjected to 14 days quarantine at the moment while the investigation goes on. Whatever is there in our laws will be applied to the fullest,” the minister had said.