Operating Environment: How NCAA Intends To Assist Nigerian Airlines, By DGCA

Operating Environment: How NCAA Intends To Assist Nigerian Airlines, By DGCA

The Director General, Civil Aviation, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu says the regulatory body is taking measures to assist Nigerian airlines because they are “operating in a very difficult environment and an airline cannot operate in isolation of the economy it is operating in and the Nigerian economy is in very difficult times.”
Speaking in an interview at the just concluded 7th Aviation Africa Summit held in Abuja, Nuhu said: “The cost of financing is 25%. That is killing to start with. You take a loan and you are paying 25% of whatever you make to the bank. You are not talking of your expenses, your cost, your current and long-term liabilities. Quite a few of them are in financial strait and some are okay. So, that is the way it is. It is a very difficult environment for the airlines and we also do sincerely sympathize with them and we will try and see where we have flexibility to make life easy for them.
Like the issue of insurance; the insurance is from Lloyds of London, from another country, while it requires a huge amount of foreign exchange. Normally, insurance they say is for one year but we know an airline that has 20, 30 aircraft like Air Peace. For it to pay insurance is a huge task. That is why we say pay quarterly at least, to reduce the financial burden, especially on the requirement of getting foreign exchange at a time.
So, we try to assist the airlines in that area and those who have debts, we reach an agreement with them. If I have N1 billion with you, I am not asking you to pay that N1 billion to me because if I do that, I am going to kill your business. So, we reach a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and they pay an amount that will not cripple their operation but also, they have to pay a reasonable amount to clear those outstanding debts. Those are the areas we have flexibility with the industry.”
Commenting on the assertion of NCAA’s autonomy, Nuhu said: “I cannot speak on what happened before me and we have to determine and understand the autonomy of the NCAA. The NCAA is a government organization. The NCAA cannot exist in the absence of government. Autonomy of NCAA is on its regulatory functions; our safety regulatory function, that is where we have our autonomy but there are other government regulations, financial regulations and all that the NCAA must comply with. The NCAA cannot exist on its own and we say nobody in government should talk to us. There is no civil aviation authority like that anywhere in the world but when we take safety decisions, like grounding of an airline X, then there is intervention that we should reverse that action, that is interference with the regulatory function.”
He said the Minister of Aviation & Aerospace Development, Barrister Festus Keyamo has committed to complying with the law.
“My own experience since I became the DG, I have not experienced that even once. Like the new Minister has said, he will respect that and the first meeting I had with him, he said ‘I am a lawyer. I have gone through the Civil Aviation Act. NCAA is a very powerful organization and has a very powerful DG but if you don’t use power properly, you will do more damage than fixing things. So, you have to be very careful that you don’t get carried away. And what is the purpose of the NCAA? To promote the aviation industry, basically that is what it is. So, we work with all stakeholders. We have grounded a few airlines when we believed that safety was going to be compromised, we just have to take action,” said Nuhu.

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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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