Aviation industry regulator, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, on Monday said it would meet the owner of the allegedly stolen two bombardier Dash 8 Q300 aircraft from the Lagos airport in court over the matter.
TopBrass Aviation, a charter airline operator and owner of the two Canada-made planes, had dragged the NCAA along with other governmental and non-governmental organisations to court for the disappearance of the jets.
The General Manager, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said the agency would not comment on the matter, because it was already in court, adding that the regulator would meet TopBrass in court.
“We will not comment on this matter, because it is already in court. We will meet in court. Any comment now will be sub judice,” he said.
The airplanes, with registration numbers 5N-TBB and 5N-TBC, have been the focus of a legal tussle between the lessor, Seagold Investment Limited, and TopBrass Aviation Services.
Some interested parties in the Presidency allegedly acquired the aircraft contrary to the orders of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The two planes were reportedly parked at the General Aviation Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport.
They are now stationed at the Aero Contractors’ maintenance and overhaul hanger, but with registration numbers already wiped off.
The jets are said to be set for maintenance to enable them to fly out of Lagos to an undisclosed location.
The row is over a $12m aircraft purchase deal with Seagold, which the aviation regulator allegedly got involved in by clandestinely planning to forcefully allow the two planes to be flown to the owners despite a court injunction restraining the agency.
The Managing Director, TopBrass, Mr Roland Iyayi, sued the accused for flouting a ruling concerning the two aircraft.
Aviation agencies sued by the company included the NCAA and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
Iyayi told our correspondent on Monday that he stood by his legal dispute and would be ready to meet the NCAA and other interested parties in court.
The TopBrass boss said he had invested over $12m in the finance purchase agreement it entered into with Seagold for the acquisition of the assets and was being allegedly frustrated by those served with the contempt charge.
He added, “When TopBrass engaged with Seagold International, we entered into a finance purchase agreement with Seagold, separate and distinct from an operate lease agreement. In this particular context, rather than pay a standard operating lease fee of $80,000 per aircraft per month at the time, TopBrass was paying $210,000 per aircraft per month and the tenure of the lease was for 24 months.
“During the period of the lease, TopBrass provided Seagold with a letter of credit to the tune of $1.3m. At the same time, TopBrass signed an Irrevocable Deregistration Authority in favour of Seagold such that should we default in the 24-month period, Seagold would have had an unfettered access to the aircraft for repossession. Fortunately, over the 24-month period, there was no default.”