By Chinedu Eze
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned all industry stakeholders to avoid anti-competitive practices in the aviation sector, insisting that no airline can fly without adequate insurance cover and other safety certificates.
NCAA was reacting to recent stories making the rounds aimed at misinforming travellers and other Nigerian about some Nigerian carriers.
On Sunday last week, there was a reports that an airline’s flight was involved in a crash and as the false report circulated Nigerians were gripped with fear and later it was found to be a hoax.
This was followed by another misinformation that one of the airlines does not carry out adequate maintenance of its aircraft; so the report, which spread on social media, warned travellers not to fly that particular airline.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, NCAA condemned the cases of misinformation prevalent in the industry.
“It is unfathomable that some questionable sources have been posting and circulating some cruelly fictitious stories about some airlines – insinuating a crash or claiming a particular carrier does not possess aircraft spares to sustain a safe operation using the online platform.
“The authority only recently carried out a safety audit on Arik Air and there were no issue of safety concern found. Such reports should therefore be discountenanced.
“All those involved in this nefarious activity should promptly desist from this course of action as the consequences are seriously detrimental to the industry, particularly the confidence of the passengers,” the regulatory authority said.
NCAA also noted that it was well aware of the high volume of passenger movement within the country and from the diaspora during the yuletide season.
“NCAA’s Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI) have therefore embarked on increased surveillance on airline operations in addition to our daily ramp inspection diligently carried out so as not to leave room for anyone to cut corners.
“On the issue of insurance, contrary to some claims, it is inconceivable for any carrier/flight crew to carry out any flight operation (private or commercial) without valid or all requisite safety certificates,” NCAA said.
The regulatory authority also said that according to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs), 18.11.2, “No person shall operate any aircraft in public air transport category without adequate and valid insurance.”
NCAA said on this strength, the Authority would continue to statutorily provide robust regulation for safe and secure airline operations.
The authority however appealed to passengers to show understanding and not take laws into their hands when it becomes inevitable that flight has to be delayed or cancelled on account of unfavourable weather conditions or any other operational issues such as unavailability of fuel whenever it arises.
It added that its Consumer Protection Directorate has been strengthened to enforce the Passengers Bill of Rights as it relates to passengers and the airlines.