Recent incidents involving private jets at Ibadan airport have raised safety concerns within Nigeria’s private jet sector.
The regulatory authority has discovered widespread misuse of private jets for commercial purposes, intensifying worries about safety.
In this report Nosa Aituamen, provides updates and highlights stakeholders’ concerns in this special report.
Two recorded incidents have occurred involving the operations of private jets in the country.
The first incident involved a Flint Aero-operated HS125 aircraft, which crashed short of the runway on November 3, 2023, en-route from Abuja to Ibadan, carrying 10 passengers and 3 crew members.
The second incident involved a Challenger CL 601 aircraft operated by Mattini Aviation Services. On January 26th, it overshot the runway with 15 persons onboard en-route from Abuja to Ibadan. Brake failure was allegedly blamed for this incident, but fortunately, no casualties were reported.
The Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) is conducting an ongoing investigation to determine the cause of this serious incident.
These incidents have unveiled the widespread misuse of private jets for commercial purposes, violating the Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF), thereby heightening safety concerns.
The Acting Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Chris Njomo has announced the commencement of strict oversight and enforcement actions against PNCF violators.
“This is a stern warning to all PNCF holders that it is no longer business as usual for violators of these conditions, of their permits”.
He warned that individuals chartering private jets are doing so at their peril.
“Persons engaging such private jet operators for charter services do so at their own risk, as insurance coverage for this type of operation does not cover the PNCF holders”.
Emphasizing safety, Captain Njomo advised patrons to verify if their private jet operator is duly permitted and licensed by the NCAA.
While the authority has taken action to suspend operators’ permits, stakeholders urge the NCAA to implement more stringent measures and enhance surveillance and manpower.
Nigerian-American aircraft maintenance engineer, Mr. Femi Adeniji, expressed deep concern and highlighted the importance of stringent regulatory enforcement, regular maintenance checks, and pilot training focused on safety procedures.
“Those tires, the nose wheel tires on that aircraft should not even have move an inch and we won’t wait until accidents start to happen. NCAA needs help. And the help they need is the need to have enough experience inspectors that will monitor all operators in Nigeria, not just private, even commercial have their issues”.
Former Rector, Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Captain Samuel Caulcrik, urged the NCAA to enhance its surveillance efforts.
“For NCAA to be very effective it has to up its surveillance efforts, which means the inspectors would have to be on the field not behind the desk”.
Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, assured that efforts are underway to fix airport infrastructure.
“For these incidents, we are specifically looking at upgrading the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria, procuring landing, navigational equipment, upgrading the ones that we have before. There is the ILS, the modern ones for the five international airports and some other airports”.
The hope is that the stern warning issued by the NCAA to private jet owners is heeded, emphasizing the necessity for strict adherence to regulations and safety protocols.