The Nigerian Senate’s Standing Committee on Aviation has ordered the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to suspend the ongoing certification process of start-up NG Eagle, the country’s media report.

This follows a similar directive by the lower House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aviation on October 6.

Senate Committee chairman, Smart Adeyemi, in a letter to the NCAA said the suspension was needed to enable the committee and relevant authorities to carry out a thorough investigation of all allegations levelled by trade unions.

As reported previously, the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) branch of the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) in a joint petition allege that the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) - a special purpose vehicle of the federal government to recover debts – has transferred aircraft from Arik Air, under its receivership since 2017, to NG Eagle in order to evade paying Arik Air’s debts.

NG Eagle is currently in the fourth of five stages of certification with the NCAA and was expected to finish the process this month.

AMCON has reportedly acquired three B737-700s for the start-up of NG Eagle. In terms of Nigerian law, an airline has to start with a minimum of three aircraft. Three former Arik aircraft - including 5N-MJE (msn 34761) and 5N-MJG (msn 33944) - have been repainted in NG Eagle livery and are parked at Lagos.

Adeyemi said: “The petition categorically stipulated that the application for [an] Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) is unrealistic and unfeasible as the debt profile of Arik Air, which is presently under receivership by AMCON, is enormous. Therefore, the notion that [an] AOC be granted to NG Eagle while it uses Arik Air aircraft, which accounts for part of the assets of Arik Air, will invariably undermine the receivership.”

He added: “Having carefully considered the submission by the unions, the Senate Committee on Aviation, in consonance with the House Committee on Aviation, hereby directs you to immediately suspend the issuance of AOC to NG Eagle. The essence of this suspension is to enable the committee and relevant authorities [to] carry out a thorough investigation of all allegations levelled by the unions in the petition.” Adeyemi said the committee expected full compliance with the directive until a resolution was achieved.

Editorial Comment: Updating with third former Arik aircraft in NG Eagle livery parked in Lagos. - 18.10.2021 - 20:06 UTC