Barely 215 days after its debut in the Nigerian aviation Industry, Tunde babalola’s multimillion naira organization known as Discovery Air, was suspended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
A statement by NCAA on Tuesday, January 13,2015 said that the suspension took effect from Thursday, January 8,2015.
According to the regulatory body, the suspension of the activities of the airline is in pursuit of its oversight responsibilities as stipulated by law.
The statement, signed by NCAA’s Deputy General Manager, Public Relations, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, explained that the suspension followed a review of the operations of some domestic airlines, adding that Discovery had earlier been issued with a warning letter to address some pressing issues.
He added that the airline failed to carry out stipulated corrective actions within one week (January 1 to 7, 2015) as raised in an earlier letter to the management.
Adurogboye said, “Consequent upon the inability to address the issues raised, the NCAA, in its January 8, 2015 letter to the operator, declared, ‘The Authority pursuant to Section 35 and [b]of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and Part 188.8.131.52.3[a] of the Nig. CARs 2009, hereby suspends the Air Operator’s Certificate of Discovery Airways Limited’.
“The suspension takes effect from January 8, 2015, the date of the letter conveying the notice. This order will be in force pending the outcome of a comprehensive review of the airline’s operations to be carried out accordingly.”
Prior to the suspension, it was reported that the airline which has not even clock one has a huge debt profile which has stunted its operational growth. According to reports, the airline was embroiled in a huge financial crisis and this led to the resignation of seven pilots who complained that the airline owes them over five month salary.
According to a Pilot who allegedly resigned, the company is in this financial mess due to its Chairman, Tunde Babalola’s financial recklessness. Babalola was said to have collected some bank loans which he used for his oil business but refused to pay back. Thus, when he floated Discovery Air and approached the banks for fresh loans, they turned him down based on his past debt profile. The company is said to have been struggling for survival but Babalola’s strong will is also said to be responsible for its ability to be upstanding to this point, but there’s a limit to what his strong will can achieve as the airline is now said to be failing.
He is also said to be on the verge of losing the company he incorporated in 2008 as the airline is said to be violating standard aviation rules of safety, efficiency, comfort and quality service. A source at Nigeria’s aviation regulatory body, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, said the commission knows the airline is not adhering to the globally recognized safety standard but are handicapped because the airline has a lot of powerful friends in the commission.
To further prove that the airline is failing financially, it is said to be relying heavily on the money it makes from ticket sales to fuel the plane, an act which constantly leads to flight delay and late payment of its weekly insurance, another act which is a serious breach of aviation regulations. The shoddy way the airline is being operated is also said to have been reported to the NCAA, but they are yet to begin a query or an investigation.