Home Aviation West Link Airlines Chairman Calls for Full Autonomy of NCAA

West Link Airlines Chairman Calls for Full Autonomy of NCAA

by timenews
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… condemns 60 days license suspension penalty for illegal operation of charter service with private jet


The Chairman, West Link Airlines, Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia, has said that full autonomy of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) would further empower and embolden the Agency to carry out some reform processes in the Sector.

Mshelia said this on Sunday while commending the NCAA for apprehending a private jet operator who allegedly converted its aircraft into charter services, thereby denying the government and the Agency the required revenues and taxes.

He however, kicked against the 60 days suspension of license given to the culprit, saying it was too small to deter others from such illegal operations.

He lamented that a few of the operators who engage in this illegality were “connected” in the Country, noting that full autonomy of the Regulator would aid its reforms of the Sector.

The Airline Operator therefore urged all and sundry to support the NCAA to achieve optimal support in its regulation of the Industry.

He said the current Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, with his international experience and exposure was ready and willing to carry out the needed reforms in the Sector, but said all hands must be on deck to make this work.

However, he frowned at the 60 days suspension of the culprit and planned seizure of its Permit for Non- Commercial Flight (PNCF), saying the punishment was too little to deter others from engaging in such act in the future.

Rather, he suggested that the Regulatory Agency should hand over such culprit to the security agencies for proper prosecution, insisting that such act was an economic crime against the State.

He, however, observed that NCAA’s action may be limited because of the civil aviation regulations, but declared that for proper cleansing of the sub-sector, it was proper for the Department of Security Services (DSS) and other security agencies to wade into the matter.

Mshelia advised that instead of engaging in illegal charter services, some of the private jet operators should change their license to commercial, airlift clients legally, create more jobs for teeming professionals and pay the appropriate levies and taxes to the government.

He said: “NCAA in what they are doing at the moment, they need our help. So many of us know the truth and we can help NCAA to act. We have a system that is hopeless, but you cannot say the truth in the public, otherwise you are called the radical.

“It shows us that the current NCAA helmsman is determined to exhibit what he has learnt from outside. The man was in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). He knows what is happening in other countries, he has seen it and he has come to say no.

“The real truth is that there are powerful people behind all these illegal actions. If they are not, it would have been easy to flush them out. They want to live big. Some of these people are in a position to stop this in a minute, but they are involved in it. If we dig deeper, we will find them out.

“I disagree with the Director General on the 60 days suspension of license. That is a crime against the economy of the Country. That is a crime against all we stand for. Why will NCAA just give such a little punishment? The punishment should be more serious.

“I want to call your attention to something, NCAA is not a law court; it has its limitation legislatively on how it can punish citizens legislatively. I want to advise that the NCAA should go further by handing over the culprit for prosecution in the law court. In that case, it will be in order. To me, the 60 days is too little.”

Nuhu at a virtual meeting last week had disclosed that the NCAA had apprehended a private jet operator who uses its equipment for charter services.

He also said that the culprit’s license whose identity was not revealed would be suspended for about 60 days with additional sanction if found guilty.

According to Nuhu, the Regulatory body had put in mechanisms to identify these illegal operators who convert their private jets into hire and reward, thereby denying the Federal Government the requisite revenues, while the registered charter operators also lose clients and revenues.

He threatened that the Agency would apply full weight of the law in this regards, stressing that it had also increased its ramp checks to reduce such dastardly act in the Industry.

He said: “These private operators are required to file monthly reports on the number of flights conducted and with passenger manifest for us to look at and determine that possibly these are legal charter operations.

“We are dealing with actually one of the PNCF; the enforcement team has recommended 60 days suspension of its certificate in addition to fine. So, they have a period of 30 days for which to get back to us or protest or bring evidence that we asked them.”



Photo caption:

Chairman, West Link Airlines, Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia



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