One of Nigeria’s flag carriers, Arik Air, on Tuesday grounded it flight operations over unpaid insurance premium for its 26 aircraft.
According to Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig Cars) Part 18.11.2 dealing with aviation insurance, “No person shall operate any aircraft in public air transport category without adequate and valid insurance cover”.
The regulations further read in Part 126.96.36.199 “Any person having a duty to maintain adequate insurance shall submit to the Authority on quarterly basis, insurance certificates, evidence of paying premium and policy documents”.
Though the airline explained that it was unable to process it insurance papers blaming the long weekend holidays declared for the Eid-el-Kabir.
It thereafter added that the situation would likely continue for the next few days until the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) approves a waiver on a priority basis to renew the policy.
Investigations by NEWSVERGE however, revealed that Arik Air ignored renewing it insurance premium for all the aircraft were not acquired in the same months or the same year but were pampered by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Although, a source at NCAA confidentially said, “for Arik not to have insurance cover for its aircraft is a gross violation of the regulations and such attracts stiff penalties in terms of fines and others”.
When our reporter visited the airline’s operational base, the officer on ground whose name could not be identified lied to the passengers who were curious to know why the airline grounded its operations. The officer said the airlines could not airlift the passengers owing to lack of Jet A1, aviation fuel.
Meanwhile, unavailability of aviation fuel has now become a major excuse the airline use whenever it wants to delay or cancel flight operations to the detriment of its passengers who are not compensated.