The spokesperson of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) the umbrella body of local airlines in the country, Obiora Okonkwo, has rubbished the water salute of an aircraft claimed to belong to Nigeria Air, the country’s national carrier.
In a statement sent to Ripples Nigeria on Sunday, Okonkwo explained that the “static display” in Abuja on Saturday doesn’t mean Nigeria Air has commenced operation, as the promoters of Nigeria didn’t go through international standard procedure.
He clarified that the water salute is usually used to mark the first flight of an aircraft to an airport. However, the aircraft that was used for the static display in Abuja on Friday was not the first flight of Nigeria Air into Abuja.
“This is because Nigeria Air has not commenced flight operations as required by law. Nigeria Air has not been issued with an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which is the legal authority for the issuance of such certificate and as such, cannot conduct flight operations.
“Further to that, the aircraft is an Ethiopian Airlines property that, even during the static display in Abuja, operated with an Ethiopian registration number as ET-APL. A further check at Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) will show that the flight entered Nigeria as an ET flight,” AON spokesperson said.
He further accused Ethiopian Airlines of brazenly disobeying an order by the Nigerian court, the Federal High Court, which ordered the promoters of Nigeria Air not to take actions on the national carrier pending the determination of a legal action filed by AON against the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Ethiopian Airlines and Nigeria Air.
READ ALSO:Nigeria Air plane lands at Abuja airport
AON instituted a lawsuit against the promoters of Nigeria Air over the deal between the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines, which the group said would be anti-competitive against domestic airlines.
He said Ethiopian Airlines is allowing the minister to use their company to disobey court order, a situation that would not be allowed in Ethiopia.
According to Okonkwo, the aircraft displayed for the water salute doesn’t belong to Nigeria Air but is owned by Ethiopian Airlines.
“Ethiopian Airline has not behaved like a responsible corporate entity. It is not only brazenly disobeying an order of a competent Nigerian court – the Federal High Court of Nigeria – but also allowing itself to be used as part of the grand deception of Nigerians. Ethiopian Airlines knows that the aircraft it landed in Abuja on Friday, May 26, 2023, does not belong to Nigeria Air and is not registered in Nigeria as required by Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations.
“The question is: Would Ethiopia allow a Nigerian airline to brazenly flout the orders of an Ethiopian court or violate the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Regulations as it did in Abuja on Friday, May 26? This goes to show that Ethiopia Airline Operators have no iota of respect for our country, our laws, and regulatory agencies. It is our hope that Ethiopia Airlines does not get away with this disrespectful action,” Okonkwo said in the statement.
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