The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, has revealed, Captain Nuhu, has said that the Federal Government’s palliatives will only be given to operational airlines with valid Air Operator Certificate (AOC).
Captain Nuhu who disclosed this at a meeting during the gateway forum of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondent (LAAC), said the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), would not err in putting forward a defunct airline for the palliative.
“Any airline can apply, whether functioning or not but it is a policy that participating airlines must be functioning and with Air Operators Certificate. I also believe that the AON has its own set of rules and they know the criteria, I believe the AON will not put forward a non- functioning airline,” he said.
On the economic viability of Nigerian airlines, the DG explained that the COVID-19 has levelled even the strongest of carriers and most are being handed bailouts to survive across the globe.
“The financial health of airlines is not limited to Nigerian airlines, it is a global issue, especially due to the impact of COVID-19. We have seen airlines that have gotten millions of dollars in subsidies from their governments, and they still have issues. Many airlines have sacked workers, BA, Emirates, Lufthansa sacked workers and are withdrawing some aircraft. It is a global thing. But government is working on the palliative,” he said.
Nuhu also revealed that the aircraft which was impounded by the United Arab Emirates authorities which took off from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, doesn’t belong to Nigeria.
He said Nigeria had concluded its investigation and forwarded all relevant documentation to the Dubai Authorities and the state of aircraft registration which is the United States. He also said that all those involved in the violation of the Nigerian aviation regulations will be sanctioned accordingly.
He said the impounded aircraft is not a Nigerian aircraft but a US registered plane brought into Nigeria to operate under the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) of Nigeria.
On July 19, a chartered aircraft left the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja but was impounded at the Dubai International Airport shortly after arriving the UAE.
There were reports that after inspection by the UAE Civil Aviation authorities, serious safety infractions were discovered and subsequently impounded.
The chartered plane was alleged to had flown some Nigerian mineral merchants to Dubai.
He also advised airlines plying regional and international routes to always carry the regulatory authority along in their expansions so as avoid being exploited.
Recently, one of Nigeria’s major carriers complained about exploitative treatment in some West Coast destinations stating that government has not come to their aid.
However, Nuhu said the NCAA, if carried along, knows how to wade in, reciprocate and protect the airlines.
“The airlines should always carry the NCAA, the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian embassy in the country they are flying into along, we are here to help them grow, they should carry us along, it will be very helpful when the airlines carry the regulatory body along.
“When they have difficulties, they should complain to us, we will sit with them and guide them and even go with them, there must be fairness from both sides,” he said.