An article indicting the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as the body that issued the controversial AOC to Chanchangi Airline has surfaced.
The rejoinder titled: “Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s defence of the allegation on the issuance of Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to Chanchangi Airlines: A blant Lie by the regulatory body to deceive the public”, as sighted by our correspondent, stated that NCAA is complicit to the illegal issuance of the AOC to Chanchangi despite the fact that the airline has no known serviceable airplane in operation. The full report is written below.
NIGERIAN CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY’S DEFENCE OF THE ALLEGATIONS ON THE ISSUANCE OF AIR OPERATOR CERTIFICATE(AOC) TO CHANCHANGI AIRLINES: A BLATANT LIE BY THE REGULATORY BODY TO DECEIVE THE PUBLIC.
My attention has been brought to allegations made against the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that this apex aviation regulatory body issued Air Operating Certificate (AOC) valid till February 2019 to the defunct Chanchangi Airline without following due procedures and when the defunct airline actually did not have any aeroplane that it was operating.
I have also read the defence of the NCAA on this allegation titled “Chanchangi Airlines Operations Remain Grounded, Says NCAA” published in various new media including the Sahara Reporter, where the NCAA spokesperson Mr. Adurugboye said “The airline in question was not operational, there was no way it could be issued a new AOC, stressing that it got the AOC when it was operating Boeing 737 for cargo operations”. He further mentioned that “the 737 aircraft which it used for cargo was leased by another airline and was at present unserviceable due to lack of maintenance”.
I want to use this opportunity to inform the general public that I have conducted thorough investigations on this matter and came up with the findings that the NCAA is deceiving the public with lies, and evading the main substance of the allegations. I will use this medium to deconstruct the lies told by the NCAA with irrefutable evidences, and draw the attention of the public to the main substance the NCAA is trying to cover by issuing AOC to the defunct airline.
The evidence attached to the allegation was the AOC issued to Chanchangi Airlines and signed by the NCAA Director General on 5th February, 2017 and valid till 4th February, 2019. The second document was a letter written by the NCAA to Chanchangi Airline signed by the NCAA Director of Operations and Training conveying the AOC to Chanchangi. The letter mentioned the conditions for the AOC to remain valid.
As the NCAA spokesperson rightly mentioned, Chanchangi was operating a Boeing 737 for its cargo operations. However, we have evidence to show that the airline was not operating the leased Boeing aircraft at the time the AOC was issued contrary to the claims by the NCAA. Chanchangi was not operating any aircraft at all at the time the certificate was given to them. This is because the said Boeing aeroplane had since ceased to be operated by Chanchangi 10 months before the AOC was issued, and it was then being operated by another airline called Omni Blu Aviation.
Our evidence to this claim is two Certificates of Registration (C of R) of the said aeroplane we have in our possession. Usually, the Certificate of Registration of any aircraft as issued, also by the NCAA, contains information about the aeroplane owner, the aeroplane operator, the aeroplane registration number and other information. Any time there is a change in the aeroplane owner (if the aeroplane is bought by another company) or a change in the operator (when the aeroplane owner decides to lease the aircraft to another airline to operate for them), the owner must apply to the NCAA to issue another C of R that now contains the latest information.
In this case, the Boeing 737 aeroplane registration number is 5N-IZB. The aeroplane is owned by a company called Airstream Aviation Services Limited. According to the two C of Rs of the aircraft, we gathered that the first was issued on 7th April, 2016 indicating Chanchangi Airlines as the operator of the aeroplane. For reasons best known to the aeroplane owner, within eight (8) days after the C of R was issued, the NCAA was meant to change the aeroplane operator from Chanchangi Airline to Omni Blu Aviation. This change was what made a second and the most current C of R of the aeroplane to be issued on 15th April, 2016.
Now that we have established that as at 15th April, 2016, the aeroplane operator was Omni Blu, is it possible that the aircraft owner changed his mind again and decided to make Chanchangi Airline the operator of the aeroplane at the time the AOC was issued to Chanchangi the following year February 2017? An online publication of 15th June 2017 (Link https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/06/ncaa-says-will-not-compromise-requirements-aoc/) by the NCAA identified the aeroplane 5N-IZB as still operated by Omni Blu Aviation. This clearly reveals to us that when the Chanchangi Airline’s AOC was renewed in Febraury 2017 which is between 15th April 2016 and 15th June 2017, the said cargo aeroplane was not operated by Chanchangi but by Omni Blu.
This same aeroplane is no longer in good condition to fly and has been abandoned by Omni Blu and Air Stream Aviation at the Murtala Muhammed Airport because the very old aeroplane has reached the level where Boeing the manufacturer said it should never be operated again no matter the level of maintenance one does on it.
Apart from this fact that Chanchangi Airline did not have any operational aeroplane during the period the AOC was given, we have also obtained information from sources within the NCAA who confided in us that the issuance or renewal of AOC takes a mandatory five-steps. Within these steps, the NCAA should ensure that any airline that wants to obtain the AOC has all the required managers, offices, current and approved documents, offices, good aeroplanes, trained pilots and engineers, etc, before the AOC can be given. This process takes months to complete as it is a rigorous exercise and there are reports usually generated for every step that has been completed. In the case of Chanchangi, even staff of NCAA who were supposed to do these required audits were surprised to hear that Chanchangi’s AOC has been signed by the DG whereas there is no evidence that all the various departments who should be involved in the process participated in the exercise. In fact, there is no document you can find in the NCAA to show that there was actually an audit exercise before the AOC was renewed. I was reliably informed that the person who delivered the AOC to Chanchangi is a staff of the NCAA and that this person used to be the Lagos Station Manager of Chanchangi Airlines before he joined the NCAA.
This now leads us to the ultimate question: if the NCAA DG (who signed the AOC), NCAA Director of Operations and Training (who signed the letter conveying the AOC) and the NCAA Inspector(who delivered both the letter and AOC to Chanchangi) were all staff of Chanchangi Airways before joining NCAA, what was their intent in dashing an AOC to their former employer when they know that the airline does not have any aeroplane to operate. Is there something special or are there benefits a company or organization can obtain just by having an AOC? I was told that the gain of having an AOC does not end in just carrying passengers at a cost. Instead, airlines use the AOC to obtain special grants from CBN that allows them receive multimillion dollar forex from the CBN, and also most often a means for money laundering. Is this the reason or are there some other reasons that are yet to unfold?
No matter what reasons these men may have, we must not relax our minds by thinking that, after all, Chanchangi Airlines does not operate any longer and therefore, it poses no danger to the general public. There is, indeed, a danger in all these: the fact that we have people within the NCAA who can issue AOC to an airline that has not met the requirements which includes ensuring that the aeroplane operated by these airlines are safe.
Just this year alone, we have had cases where Dana Airline aeroplanes nearly crashed making us to question the safety of the aeroplanes used by the airline. Yet the NCAA keeps assuring us that they have done the necessary inspections. If the NCAA can deceive the general public on this issue of Chanchangi Airline, do we have any reason to continue to trust the assurances given to us by this apex aviation body?
For the safety of general public, the corrupt elements within the NCAA should be singled out and removed. Otherwise, we would soon have a situation where aeroplanes in Nigeria will start falling from the sky, killing innocent lives, simply because they were given AOC by NCAA to operate, whereas the serviceability of their aeroplanes have not been verified.