Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - For the second time in as many weeks, the regulatory Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Thursday suspended the operations of the country's second largest airline, Air Nigeria, the airline announced.
''The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended our flight operations effective immediately over alleged indications that the airline is in financial distress,'' airline spokesman Sam Ogbogoro said in an email to correspondents.
''We wish to apologize for all the inconvenience that this order by the NCAA will bring on our passengers and wish to assure that Air Nigeria will continue to liaise with the relevant agencies to ensure that the suspension order is lifted as soon as possible,’’ the statement said.
The suspension came on the same day it was reported in the local media that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has sued the airline for owing almost 5 billion naira in back taxes (US$1=155 Naira).
A former top executive of the airline said in a recent stinging allegation that it was in a financial distress, hence could not adequately maintain its 11 aircraft.
Air Nigeria, the former Virgin Nigeria, is owned by Nigerian businessman Jimoh Ibrahim.
-0- PANA SEG 21June2012