• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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FAAN says grounding of Amaechi’s plane not political


The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) yesterday said the grounding of the Bombadier BD 700-1A11 (Global Express) belonging to the Rivers State government at the Akure airport on Friday and its eventual grounding by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was not political.

It insisted that the operation of the aircraft was illegal in Nigeria.

Yakubu Dati, spokesman for the authority, said in Lagos that FAAN could no longer wait to dispel the rumour that the action of the aviation agencies had political undertone.

He added that “the aircraft pilot erred by not filing mandatory documents, that is the manifesto as and when due, at an airport that was not certified for night flight operations.

“Whenever an aircraft stays beyond 6.00p.m, authorisation must be gotten from the appropriate authorities before such aircraft is cleared for take-off, hence the slight delay in the departure of the aircraft.

“Besides, the aircraft in question belonged to and was registered in the name of Bank of Utah Trustees, Salt Lake City, USA, and only had permission to fly into Nigeria on March 27th, 2013 and depart on April, 2nd, 2013.

“As at Friday, the parent company (BUT) had not regularised its status to continue to fly in the Nigeria airspace, neither has it been given a flight operation clearance certificate. The aviation industry abides by strict regulations and does not waive such, no matter whose ox is gored.

“We believe the entire scenario has been concocted to enmesh a safety and procedural issue into a political matter. It was unfortunate that three government agencies, FAAN, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), have been dragged into a politics of intrigue for doing their work properly”.

Dati noted that the aviation industry is internationally regulated, “so we believe that the appropriate authorities should be left to perform their duties as it ought to be done in the overall interest of safety and security”.

The aircraft was delayed during take-off at Akure airport by NAMA on Friday when Rotimi Amaechi, Rivers State governor, in company of Aminu Tambuwal, speaker of the House of Representatives, and other dignitaries were going to attend the funeral of Funmi Olayinka, the late Ekiti deputy governor, over alleged failure to file manifest.

The incident eventually culminated in NCAA grounding it for flying illegally across the country with expired clearance papers.