First Nation Airways on Tuesday reassured its passengers that the airline would resume flight operations on Sept.15.
The Airline’s Director of Flight Operations, Capt. Chimara Imediegwu, made this known at a news conference in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the airline had on Aug.17 announced the suspension of its operations to enable aircraft in its fleet undergo engine maintenance.
Imediegwu said it was not true that the airline was on the verge of folding up.
He said that it voluntarily grounded the aircraft at enormous cost to await the arrival of the manufacturer’s team.
“The airline planned this maintenance action well ahead. The team of engineers will arrive in Nigeria by Sept. 8 to begin the repairs, while flight services are expected to resume thereafter.
“The challenges of sourcing forex with constantly changing CBN policies and Rate of Exchange (ROE) leave us sometimes in situations where aircraft parts cannot be obtained when ordered.
“This is due to banks inability to transfer funds based on bids and maintenance schedules programmed with external Maintenance and Repair Organisations (MRO) providers, suffer the repeated failures of the bidding system,’’ the director said.
Imediegwu said that airline operators had to source forex from the parallel market at a cut-throat rate to reduce the disruption in their operations.
“Having contended with this, the FirstNation management planned well ahead and kept the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) informed of the progress of the maintenance of its aircraft,’’ he said.
Imediegwu said that the current foreign exchange constraint which disrupted maintenance slots, coupled with over 70 per cent devaluation of Naira, partly contributed to the development. (NAN)