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Why IRS, Chanchangi airlines grounded operations

By on November 2, 2013

There are indications that Chanchangi and IRS airlines may have voluntarily grounded their operations without waiting for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to do so.

Daily Independent gathered that both airlines were grounded for the same reasons; owed workers salaries for months  and not having minimum of two airplanes to continue to carry out their flight operations.

It was further learnt that in IRS, some of the pilots have started leaving as they could no longer continue to work without pay.

As at the time of compiling this report, it was not certain if it was the airlines that grounded their operations on their own or that it was the NCAA that advised them to do so, as the inability of the two pay salaries of workers posed serious danger for the flying public.

A source, who spoke to our correspondent on the issue and who does not want his name to be mentioned, stated that the NCAA should have grounded the two airlines long ago and that the delay in grounding these airlines amounts to compromising safety.

He added that immediately the IRS incident in Kaduna  happened, the airline should have been grounded and that the same thing should have been done to Chanchangi airline.

According to him, “These airlines have compromised safety and so NCAA should not have allowed them to continue to operate.”

Attempts to reach the Director General of NCAA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, to confirm or deny if it was the agency that grounded the operations of these airlines and why they were grounded, proved abortive, as he did not pick his calls or respond to the text sent to him by our correspondent.

But the Managing Director of IRS, Yemi Dada, had denied the airline owed workers salaries, explaining that the airline’s finances has been boosted by Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).

He said that the airline has received assistance from AMCON, which the airline used to pay workers salaries and restructure finances and aircraft mainatence, among others.

According to him, “We have airplanes undergoing check. We have received support from AMCON which was used to pay salaries and also restructure our finances and pay for checks among others. We are safety conscious and take maintenance seriously and do not hesitate to park aircraft for maintenance when required.”

Investigation  also revealed that Chanchangi airlines is equally owing its staff salaries and that apart from that, the airline’s operations  has not been smooth.

Reacting to the allegation, Chanchangi spokesman, Olu Balogun, like the IRS boss, also denied that the airline owe the staff salaries.

He said that they were not owed any salaries as they are paid as and when due, adding that all what people are insinuating are not true.

“I can tell you that we are not owed any salaries .We are paid as at when due.”

On the aircraft on the airline’s fleet, Balogun said that the airline has three, adding that while two of the airplanes are operating at the moment; the remaining one has gone for checks.

He did not state the type of check the third aircraft went for.




[Daily Independent]