By Chinelo Obogo
Veteran journalist and public affairs commentator, Ibrahim Jirgi, has said that aviation activities in the northern part of Nigeria has been grounded because of the suspension of Azman Air’s operations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Jirgi, a member of the 2015 All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign
Council from Yobe State, raised the concern in a press statement, saying that the entire region is suffering as a result of the suspension of Azman’s operations which has left Max Air to cater for the region.
He noted that most northern routes are now left with only one airline or none at all, listing Gombe, Kebbi, Sokoto, Kaduna, Yola as worst hit while, Maiduguri,
Kano, Bauchi, Jos, and Katsina are coping with only the services of Max Air.
He called on the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to urgently act to review the issue, so that the vital services denied the North will be restored.
Jirgi regretted that with Azman Air grounded, flight fares have also soared as demand far outweighs the supply.
“The whole region is suffering as a result of the measures imposed by the aviation authorities more than a month now. It is sad that air fares have increased by over 300 per cent on most northern routes while reservations are made about four to 20 days in advance for flights from Kano to Abuja or Abuja to Maiduguri or Bauchi to Abuja.
“It is unfortunate for the North to be suffering at this crucial time when its security situation is completely jeopardised. The entire Aviation leadership is in the hands of a Northerner, but regrettably left in the hands of touts,” Jirgi said.
On March 16, the NCAA suspended the operations of all the Boeing 737 aircraft in the fleet of Azman Air Services Limited over safety concerns after a series of incidents and immediately commenced an audit which covered flight operations, management, maintenance and economic using criteria from Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) Part 9, NCARS Part 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 20 and Nigeria Civil Aviation Act 2006 NCARS, Part 18.