he Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says it is carrying out economic and financial audits of the remaining eight domestic airlines in the country.
Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director-General, NCAA, during an interview with journalists in Lagos on Wednesday, said that the aim was to determine the health conditions of the airlines.
The number of scheduled domestic operators went down last week, from eight from 10, following the suspension of two airlines
Nuhu said that the regulatory body was already carrying out intensive financial and economic audits on three other indigenous airlines, while the remaining would be done in batches..
”While Aero Contractors voluntarily suspended its operations, NCAA grounded the services of Dana Air following its alleged failure to run safe operations.
”The remaining eight scheduled airlines are Air Peace, Arik Air, Max Air, Green Africa, United Nigeria, Overland, Azman Air and Ibom Air,” he said.
The NCAA boss decried the current difficult operating environment for operators which was further escalated by the scarcity of foreign exchange and high price of Jet A1.
He, however, said that NCAA would not relegate safety to the background.
He said: “We are currently conducting financial and economic audits of airlines in the country. We have done two or three and other airlines will be taken in batches. I will discuss with the airline’s management on the way forward.
“Like I said, we have a financial crisis and we don’t want it to cross over into a safety crisis. We need to manage the situation.
“For now, we remain focused while working to address the solution to the financial difficulties in the airlines. This cannot go on forever. So, we are working round-the-clock to find a solution.
“Yes, it is a very difficult situation, but we are just going to do what we are doing. We are working together and collaborating with others to address the situation in the industry.
The director-general said that NCAA was doing its best to keep the industry safe.
”Safety is paramount to us. Anything that affects safety will not be compromised whatsoever. It is better for the airlines to be shut down than to have a major incident,” he said
On Dana’s suspension of operations, Nuhu said that following the financial and economic audit of the airline, the NCAA discovered some “grave concerns” in the operations of the airline that could affect safety.
He, however, said that the audit of the airline was still ongoing, adding that the agency would give the airline a clear chance to resolve whatever issue it was having.
He added that what NCAA officials found out was of grave concern to them.