The privately-owned airline ‘Air Nigeria’, which was grounded for safety checks by the regulatory Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Monday, has been cleared to fly again, NCAA spokesman Sam Adurogboye said Thursday.
”Yes, Air Nigeria has been cleared and is now free to resume its operations,” Mr. Adurogboye told PANA in Lagos.
PANA reports that the airline’s check-in counters at the domestic wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos were open for business Thursday morning.
NCAA had grounded all the 11 aircraft in the fleet of Air Nigeria, the country’s second largest airline, to allow it (NCAA) to audit the Nigeria flag carrier.
“It is a routine action to enable us look at the airline’s operations before allowing it to go back to operations again, having been on strike for days. This is normal,” the NCAA spokesman had said in announcing the grounding of the airline’s fleet.
The airline’s pilots and engineers, under the umbrella National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), have recently called off the strike they called to press for better welfare.
The audit of Air Nigeria comes shortly after the 3 June crash of a McDonnell Douglas 83 plane operated by local DANA Air, which killed all 153 passengers and crew on board and six persons on ground.
The crash has raised concerns over the age and maintenance of the aircraft being operated by Nigerian airlines.
A former top staff of Air Nigeria recently warned Nigerians against patronising the airline, calling it a ”flying coffin” and saying it has a poor maintenance record.
In a stinging public statement, Mr. John Nnorom, a former Executive Director for Finance at Air Nigeria, said the airline was in a financial mess, hence could not put its planes in top shape.
“While passengers are waiting, engineers are battling to put the aircraft on air. Several times our aircraft on runway taxing to takeoff, turns back to offload passengers due to some technical faults observed by Pilots,” he said.
Air Nigeria Chair Jimoh Ibrahim denied the allegation, telling reporters on Wednesday that the airline has met international requirements to fly to London and adding ”We have never has any crash.”