The Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) has urged the Federal Government to hold the agent that facilitated approval for the impounded British aircraft responsible for its illegal operation in Nigeria.
ASRTI General Secretary, Capt. John Ojikutu (Rtd), said this in Abuja that such a step would curtail a repeat of similar unpleasant occurrence in the aviation sector.
Ojikutu was reacting to the decision of the Federal Government to impound a British aircraft for operating commercial flights into Nigeria without approval.
“While they are holding the pilot down, there is somebody in this country who facilitated the approval for the aircraft. They should hold that person responsible. No flight can enter this country without an approval.
“There is a form you must fill that shows if you are bringing human beings or cargo: you must state the ownership of things you are bringing; if cargo.
“If you are bringing human beings, are they Nigerians? We want to see their passport numbers. If they are foreigners, have they got visas? No aircraft comes to the country without an agent here,” he said.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Sunday said the Federal Government had impounded an aircraft owned by a British company for operating commercial flights into Nigeria without approval.
According to him, the company, Flair Aviation, was authorised to conduct humanitarian flights, but was caught operating commercial flights.
Sirika said that in addition to the confiscated aircraft, a maximum penalty would be imposed on the company for the flouting Federal Government’s ban on commercial flights as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations, but regrettably, we caught them conducting commercial flights.
“This is callous! The craft is impounded, the crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve,” Sirika said on Sunday.
Gfhnews.com reports that all the airports in the country and airspace were closed in March by the President Muhammadu Buhari, as part of efforts to contain COVID-19.