The emergence of First Nation Airways in Nigeria’s civil aviation industry is a further demonstration of ongoing transformation of the civil aviation spearheaded by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). It would be recalled three years ago, how NCAA upped the ante for existing and upcoming airlines operators to enhance their safety standards and credibility to comply with global standards.
It was for this reason that the criteria for recertification and right of entry into the sector were reviewed to accommodate credible and committed airlines that could stand the test of time. The coming of First Nation Airways may however be viewed as a litmus test for the reforms that was aimed towards restoring the confidence of air travellers in the nascent aviation industry.
First Nation Airways however began flight operations following the receipt of its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).The airline is to begin flight services on the Lagos-Abuja-Lagos route and subsequently extend its operation to Port Harcourt and Kano, the airline’s head of corporate affairs, Mr Pelu Awofesan affirmed. He said the airline would operate a fleet of modern Airbus A320 passenger aircraft.
First Nation applied for the AOC in April 2010 while the processing took about 18 months including extensive flight proofing across Europe and Nigeria.
Dr Harold Demuren, Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) commended the management of First Nation for her dedication and courage throughout the certification process.
He said: “The Civil Aviation Regulatory Regime in Nigeria has progressively improved over time and is now acknowledged as one of the most demanding AOC application processes internationally, therefore, it is challenging for any airline without a strong capital base, competence, technical knowledge and management depth to complete the certification process under the current Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations.