NCAA Considering 15 New AOCs, Reciprocity Policy On Int’l Flight Frequency Allocation

NCAA Considering 15 New AOCs, Reciprocity Policy On Int’l Flight Frequency Allocation

The Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu says the regulator has about 15 Air Operators Certificates in the pipeline.
Speaking in an interview with journalists, assessing the industry’s performance in 2021 and expectations for 2022, Nuhu said: “I must say I am pleasantly surprised with the domestic aviation industry. We certainly have recovered from Covid-19 pandemic. Not that we have recovered from the Covid-19 level but we have passed the pre-Covid-19 level. If you see the airlines from Nigeria, they have been getting clients. Right now, I have about 10 to 12 aircraft on wet-lease to fill in the gap of the demands of the system. So, the industry has done fairly well. The domestic industry is growing at a fantabulous rate. We have given a lot of Air Operators’ Certificates (AOC) and we still have about 15 in the pipeline. We are working on it. We have airports propping up all over the place and a lot of maintenance organizations coming up. For us to achieve the growth we have now, we the agencies, ministries, stakeholders and the media are doing something right that is building investors’ confidence in the system. The investors are willing to put their money in the system and grow the industry.
We will continue that way and hopefully, we want to get to a place where aviation plays very significant contributions to the GDP on short and medium terms; at least 5 per cent. Also, the growth is a bit stretching the infrastructure. So, sometimes, clogs are created here and there because the system has been stretched.
The international scene is not too bad, we are recovering gradually and hopefully in early 2022 when we come out with the issues we are having, we should exceed the pre-Covid-19 level of aviation travel. Generally, it has been hectic and stressful for us at NCAA, trying to cope with the demands everywhere, but we will keep doing what we are doing to ensure the system continues to operate safely, orderly and organized manner.”
On Covid-19 protocol compliance, he said: “Generally, globally, people are getting Covid-19 fatigue. If you go out, you see a lot of people not wearing their facemask, except in airports, airlines and other places where we keep educating people that Covid-19 is real and it’s growing into various variants. It is something we just have to consistently do and ensure compliance.”
“On the issue of inspectors for NCAA, we are working with the supervising ministry of aviation to see what we can do. We are seeking approval to employ more technical staff, which we have to do.”
Commenting on the need to avoid recurrence of controversy and conflict as regards international flight frequency and slot allocation, which recently culminated in Nigeria-UAE issues on Emirates and Air Peace, Nuhu said: “Believe me, we are working on that and it is going to be tit-for-tat. Let me use an example and I am not saying that is what we are going to do, but just as an example. If a Nigerian airline is going to United Kingdom and they insist Nigerian airline must buy slots, then any British Airlines that is coming into Nigeria will need to pay for slots too. It is tit-for-tat. If you tell me a particular airline from Nigeria cannot go to Heathrow because you cannot get slots, then, their airline too cannot come into Lagos because of slot issues. If you tell me a particular airline from Nigeria must pay for instance, 100,000 pounds to operate to Heathrow, then, their own airline will have to pay same amount of money to operate to Lagos. It is going to be reciprocity.
We cannot hide under the issue of slots to give unfair commercial advantages to foreign airlines over Nigerian airlines. We had made mistakes in the past. We have learnt from our mistakes and we are going to correct the mistakes.
Lagos Airport was built for less than 300,000 passengers in 1979 and the airport is doing more than 8 million passengers annually now and you are telling them your airport is doing above capacity. Lagos Airport is doing far above 1,000 per cent capacity. It is no longer acceptable. No one should come here and give us stories.”

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Albinus Chiedu

Albinus Chiedu is a journalist, aviation media consultant, events management professional, and author. He has practiced journalism since 2000.

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