Uche Usim, Abuja
Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika on Sunday revealed that impounded airplane and detained crew of Flairjet that engaged in illegal flights in Nigeria have been found to violate Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations IS 1.3.3(a) Table 2(IV)7(a) and IS 1.3.3 (a) Table 2(VIII)(4).
Sirika, who made the revelation via his Twitter handle noted that the maximum penalty for each of the infractions was N500,00 and both totals N1 million.
“We caused them to pay and reported their callous misdemeanor to United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA), MFA and the UK High Commission”, he added.
Last Sunday, Sirika said Flairjet was caught operating illegal operations in Nigeria, though it was hitherto given permission to carry out humanitarian services as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
He said: “Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights. This is callous!” he tweeted on Sunday.
“The craft is impounded, the crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve!”
The federal government shutdown the air borders to international flights on March 21 as a strategic move to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
While some foreign carriers are warming up to resume scheduled flight operations into Nigeria by next month, the Minister insisted that the airports will not be opened until there is sufficient proof that it is safe to do so.