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FG Inaugurates Task Force to Curb Illegal Private Charter Operations

FG sets Task Force to Curb Illegal Private Charter Operations
Festus Keyamo

The Federal Government, on Thursday, inaugurated a Ministerial Task Force to address illegal private charter operations within the aviation industry.

The ceremony was held in Abuja and led by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo.

The newly formed task force is tasked with inventorying all Private Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF) holders and Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders. The initiative aims to understand why illegal charters by PNCF holders continue despite existing regulatory controls.

Mr. Keyamo highlighted the objectives of the task force, which include verifying the authenticity and validity of professional licenses for pilots and crew, recommending measures for regulatory agencies to prevent illegal operations, and suggesting appropriate sanctions for defaulters.

The task force will also propose additional monitoring strategies for private aircraft operations in Nigeria.

The task force comprises esteemed members from the aviation industry, with Capt. Ado Sanusi as Chairman, Capt. Roland Iyayi as Vice Chairman, and the Director of Air Transport, Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development as Secretary.

Other members include Theresa Babaoye (DATR-NCAA), Capt. Daniel Quansah from the National Security Adviser’s office, Capt. Patrick Ogunlowo, and Obafemi Bajomo (SA-HMA).

“This task force is not only a response to current challenges but also a proactive step towards ensuring the long-term sustainability and integrity of our aviation sector,” Mr. Keyamo stated.

He emphasized the importance of collective efforts to restore confidence in the aviation industry, eliminate illegal operations, and ensure all flights adhere to the highest safety and legality standards.

Mr. Keyamo expressed concerns over the increasing prevalence of illegal charter operations, which have resulted in significant financial losses for the government and raised security and safety issues.

Reports indicate that private aircraft are being used for money laundering, drug trafficking, and other illicit activities, often facilitated by AOC holders listing illegal charters under their AOCs.

Additionally, there are alarming reports of crew members operating without mandatory simulator training for nearly three years and flying with fraudulently-obtained renewed licenses. Many of these individuals conduct illegal charter operations with impunity under PNCF registrations.

The Minister reiterated his commitment to his five-point agenda, focusing on safety, infrastructure, support for local operators, human capacity development, and revenue generation.

Capt. Ado Sanusi, the Chairman of the Ministerial Task Force, assured that the task force would work efficiently to achieve its objectives within the three-month timeframe, subject to possible extensions if necessary.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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