First Nation Defers Resumption of Flight Operations


Customs insists on payment of tariff on aircraft spares
Chinedu Eze
Contrary to its promise that it would resume flight operations yesterday, the management of First Nation Airways has explained why it was unable to honour it promise, citing delays in the clearing of its equipment, including aircraft engine by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

The airline last week promised that it would resume flights by September 15 if it was able to procure the needed aircraft spares parts to repair its aircraft on ground, but yesterday the airline said it could not clear the equipment due to hitches in the clearance process because of alleged delays by Customs.

Passengers who booked the airline’s flights in advance are worried and sceptical that the airline would take longer time before it resumes flight again.
First Nation Airways however has assured its passengers that it would meet its obligations to them and promised that it would resume flights soon.

  THISDAY gathered that the NCS released the equipment needed to fix the airplanes belonging to the airline on September 14, whereas the airline had anticipated that all Customs formalities would have been done last week Friday before the Sallah holidays.
The source also said the management of the airline was optimistic that the team of engineers would finish work on the engines before today, a day later than it promised that it would start schedule flights, as the airline plans to resume operations immediately after the engines were fixed.

 THISDAY also learnt that the delay in the clearing of the equipment might not be unconnected to the refusal by NCS to adopt the new policy of the federal government, which directed that airlines should enjoy waiver on importation of aircraft parts and other equipment meant for commercial airline operation.

 This was confirmed by the Account Manager of Dana Air,
Obi Mbanuzuo, who said despite the federal government’s waiver policy on the importation of spare parts into the country, NCS has continued to insist the airlines pay tariffs, which sometimes are up to 20 per cent of the price of the equipment and spares parts.