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FG launches task force to tackle illegal charter operations in Nigeria’s aviation sector 

The Federal Government has launched a special task force to address the problem of unauthorized and illegal charter flights within Nigeria’s aviation industry.  

The Ministerial Task Force on Illegal Private Charter Operations and Related Matters was formally inaugurated by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, on Thursday. 

In a statement on his official X account, Keyamo explained that the creation of the task force was prompted by a series of disturbing reports on the prevalence of illegal charter operations within the aviation sector.  

These illicit activities have led to significant financial losses for the Federal Government and have raised serious security and safety concerns, as the operations of private aircraft owners have largely remained unchecked and unregulated. 

“We have since identified problematic issues within the aviation industry that we must tackle headlong. One of such issues is what we are gathered for here today. It has come to my attention, through a series of disturbing reports, that the practice of illegal charter operations is thriving within the aviation industry, thereby undermining the efforts of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and other regulatory bodies,” the statement read in part. 

“In light of these grave concerns and in alignment with two key objectives of our five-point agenda, I am compelled to take this decisive action. Today, I am pleased to announce the establishment of the Ministerial Task Force on Illegal Private Charter Operations and Related Matters,” the statement added.  

The statement outlined the task force’s responsibilities, which include inventorying Private Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF) and Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders, investigating persistent illegal charters, verifying pilot licenses, recommending regulatory measures and sanctions, and enhancing the monitoring of private aircraft operations to ensure safety and compliance in Nigeria’s aviation industry. 

The task force members, selected from the aviation industry, include Capt. Ado Sanusi (Chairman), Capt. Roland Iyayi (Vice Chairman), the Acting Director of Air Transport (Secretary), Theresa Babayo (NCAA Director), AVM O. Oyesola (Presidential Air Fleet Commander), Capt. Daniel Quansah, Capt. Patrick Ogunlowo, and Obafemi Bajomo (Special Adviser to the Aviation Minister). 

More insights  

The Minister’s statement provided a detailed view of the illegal and unauthorized operations within the country’s aviation sector. It revealed that private plane operators are engaging in illegal activities with increasing boldness. 

  • In the statement, Keyamo disclosed that the National Security Adviser recently alerted the Aviation Ministry in a letter about a rise in the use of private jets for money laundering, drug trafficking, and other illicit activities.  
  • The statement revealed that these unscrupulous operators are being assisted by holders of Air Operator Certificates (AOC), who facilitate these illegal charters by collecting fees and listing them under their legitimate AOCs. 
  • Additionally, the Minister highlighted that some crew members involved in these illegal operations have not attended mandatory simulator training for nearly three years and are flying with fraudulently obtained renewed licenses.  
  • Many of these individuals operate planes registered under Private Non-Commercial Flights (PNCF) but conduct illegal charter operations with impunity. 

 

What you should know 

  • Since November 2023, the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development has observed and reported that some private aircraft owners in Nigeria have been violating their licenses by conducting unauthorized commercial flights. 
  • As a result, in March 2024, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) issued a stern warning to private jet owners, cautioning them against the misuse of their aircraft for commercial purposes. The NCAA stated that violators would face severe penalties, including suspension, withdrawal, or revocation of their permits. 

Tags: illegal charter operations, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Permits for Non-Commercial Flights (PNCF) license, private jet operators 


Source: TheTimes.com.ng.

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