The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has taken decisive action against ten private jet operators for breaching aviation regulations. The suspension of their licenses was announced on Thursday by Michael Achimugu, the NCAA’s Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, through a statement posted on the agency’s official X page.

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According to the NCAA’s statement, the affected operators violated NCAA Regulations 2023 Part 18.3.4. This regulation prohibits holders of a Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF) from using their aircraft for commercial purposes, such as carrying passengers, cargo, or mail for hire or reward. The NCAA had previously directed all PNCF holders to undergo re-evaluation by April 19th, 2024, to ensure compliance with these regulations.

The ten companies whose permits were suspended are Azikel Dredging Nigeria Ltd, Bli-Aviation Safety Services, Ferry Aviation Developments Ltd, Matrix Energy Ltd, Marrietta Management Services Ltd, Worldwide Skypaths Services, Mattini Airline Services Ltd, Aero Lead Ltd, Sky Bird Air Ltd, and Ezuma Jets Ltd. The NCAA emphasized that using PNCF holders for commercial operations is illegal and warned that it will enforce penalties against any violators.

In his statement, Achimugu highlighted that NCAA officials have been deployed to General Aviation Terminals (GAT) and private wings of airports to monitor the activities of PNCF holders closely. This move aims to ensure adherence to regulations and to prevent illegal commercial operations.

This crackdown is not the first of its kind. In April, the NCAA suspended three private jet owners for engaging in commercial flight operations. This suspension followed directives from the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, to cease such practices. The NCAA’s Acting Director, Chris Najomo, reiterated the authority’s zero-tolerance stance on regulatory violations, mandating all PNCF holders to submit relevant compliance documents within 72 hours.

The recent suspensions are part of a broader effort to sanitize the general aviation sector in Nigeria. Last month, Minister Keyamo inaugurated an eight-member ministerial task force committee to address illegal private charter operations and related issues, including money laundering and drug trafficking. The committee aims to curb these illicit activities, which pose significant security and safety risks and result in substantial financial losses for the federal government.

Minister Keyamo underscored the necessity of this task force in his statement, citing the urgent need to tackle illegal chartered operations and associated criminal activities. The task force is expected to implement measures that will enhance oversight and ensure that all private jet operators comply with aviation regulations.

The NCAA’s recent actions reflect a commitment to maintaining the integrity of Nigeria’s aviation sector. By suspending the licenses of non-compliant operators, the authority aims to uphold safety standards and prevent the misuse of private aviation services. The ongoing re-evaluation of PNCF holders and the establishment of the ministerial task force are steps toward a more regulated and secure aviation environment.

As the NCAA continues its enforcement efforts, private jet operators are urged to adhere strictly to regulations and ensure that their operations align with the legal framework governing non-commercial flights. This will not only enhance safety and security but also protect the credibility and reputation of Nigeria’s aviation industry.

The suspended companies include Azikel Dredging Nigeria Ltd, Bli-Aviation Safety Services, and others. The NCAA cited the illegal use of private jets for commercial purposes as the primary reason for the suspensions. Minister of Aviation Festus Keyamo has also formed a task force to tackle illegal charter operations and associated criminal activities.