The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), in a preliminary report, has allegedly indicts Flints Aero Services Ltd, the operator of the private jet that conveyed the Minister of Power, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu from Abuja to Ibadan Airport for illegal operation after warning.
Recall that the airline’s aircraft, a Hawker 800XP with registration mark, 5NAMM crashed, conveying the minister among others, into the bush after skidding off the runway at the Ibadan airport on November 3, 2023 with severe damage to the aircraft.
Therefore, according to ThisDay on Sunday, Flints Aero Services Ltd violated the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) issued to it by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
It was revealed that in a report released recently, NSIB indicated that the airline was issued a permit to conduct a Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF), which it violated by operating chartered services.
According to the report, this was in contravention of the Section 184.108.40.206 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015. NSIB noted that there are no fewer than 10 categories of AOCs in the global aviation industry.
In the case of Flints Aero Services Ltd, the airline was issued the non-commercial certificate, which indicates that it cannot airlift passengers for hire and reward.
The report added that the airline went ahead to operate a chartered operation, which meant that it charged the minister and his team some amount of money to airlift them from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja to Ibadan Airport.
Also, a statement by the Head, of Public Affairs, NSIB, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, stated that a preliminary investigation by the bureau showed that the permit issued to the airline stipulated that the aircraft would not be used for carriage of passenger(s), cargo or mail for hire or reward, but regretted that the airline violated the permit.
Oketunbi said: “The flight departed Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (DNAA), Abuja for Ibadan Airport (DNIB), Oyo State, as a charter flight on an Instrument Flight Rules flight plan. On board were 10 persons, including two cockpit crew and one cabin crew, with fuel endurance of three hours.
“Post-incident inspection of the aircraft confirmed substantial damage to the fuselage, the landing gear and flaps. The passengers disembarked without any injury while the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) were recovered in good condition and recordings were intact after the occurrence.
“Flints Aero Services Limited was issued with a Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF). The PNCF issued to Flint Aero Services Limited stipulates that the aircraft shall not be used for carriage of passenger(s), cargo or mail for hire or reward,” the report explained.
The report also revealed that the flight crew were licensed and qualified to conduct the flight and the captain had 49-night flying hours only.
It also said that the aircraft touched down in the grass verge on the extended centerline of the runway, about 220 metres from the threshold and veered progressively right of centreline runway 22 on entering the paved area until a point 156 meters from the runway threshold.
The aircraft, the report said, crossed the right runway shoulder and entered the grass verge.
It added that there was no evidence of braking action from the tyre tracks on the runway.
Safety recommendations issued by NSIB advised the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to ensure that it strictly observed the airport operational hours as published in the relevant Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) and not permit extensions beyond the airport limitations.
It also recommended to the NCAA to ensure that Flints Aero Services Limited operated within the limits of the approval given to it, in accordance with Section 220.127.116.11 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations 2015.
It also recommended that Flints Aero Services Limited should ensure that its flight crew had sufficient experience in night-time flight operations while urging the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to ensure that the overgrown grass verge on either side of runway 04/22 was immediately cleared. Adelabu and nine others, including two cockpit crew and one cabin crew, were on November 3, 2023, at about 10 pm, involved in an air crash at Ibadan Airport.