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Nigeria Air: Facts on AOC process emerges as NCAA denies airline further steps

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The last may not have been heard of the Nigeria Air, the proposed Nigeria’s National carrier as more revelations are emerging after the unveiling of the aircraft branded Nigeria Air at the Abuja airport on Friday May 26th, 2023 by the Immediate past Minister, Hadi Sirika.

The latest development is that, the regulatory Authority in the Nigerian aviation industry, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), may have aborted the yet to be born airline as, it has denied the airline further steps in the process of its Air Operators Certificate, AOC for failure to adhere to the step by step process.

The failure to follow the process was made know to the Nigeria Air Managing Director in a letter signed by Capt. O.O Lawani for the Director General Civil Aviation, DGCA.

The letter tagged, “Re: Request to Proceed to Phase Two of AOC Certification”  dated June 2,2023 with reference number NCAA/DOLTS//GEEN/Vol. III/16123.

The letter read, “The authority is in receipt of your letter dated 25th May 2023 on the above matter”.

“Quite contrary to our earlier letter of 16th May 2023 which enumerated the documents to be submitted with Formal Application Form OPS 002, your letter of request to proceed to phase two has no inclusion of a Formal Application Form the necessary documents referenced  in the Formal Application Form. Hence, the Certification process cannot progress to Phase Two without these required documents.

“Please be reminded that your Post Holders letters of commitment to Nigeria Air has tenure of three months and as such expire now.

“Accept the assurances of our highest regard”.

From all indications, the process of Nigeria Air obtaining its AOC is still barely at stage one which is the Pre-Application stage.

This recent development has corroborated the Airline Operators of Nigeria, AOC, stand that the airline has not gone far in the process of the AOC.

In an earlier statement signed by AOC spokesman Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, had said, “Implication of granting an AOC to Nigeria Air without it successfully going through the process is considered by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as serious infraction, which is also punishable. It is capable of causing Nigeria to be blacklisted by  aviation safety agencies like the US FAA and the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency)”.

“Further implications include that airlines of those countries will not come into Nigeria, and Nigerian airlines will not be allowed to operate into those countries. It also means that Nigeria will definitely fail the upcoming ICAO audit and, by way of further penalty, lose its FAA CAT-1 Certification. Nigerian airlines will also not be able to lease aircraft to boost their operations because no lessor will trust the safety certification process of the NCAA”.

The statement, adds that, “As indigenous operators, we are happy and grateful to the NCAA for saving us from this punishment by resisting the pressure from Minister Hadi Sirika to grant an AOC to Nigeria Air without going through the due process. Besides, aviation is an essential sector which is critical to economic development of Nigeria or any country. If tampered with, it will have negative expanded multiplier effect on all aspects  of the economy and life of Nigeria. AON, as strong stakeholders, have a national and patriotic duty to guard against such happening. Otherwise, our investments in the aviation sector of Nigeria, running into billions of dollars, would have been jeopardised. 

“Hence, we in the AON continue to salute the courage of the NCAA team led by Capt. Musa Nuhu, for insisting that the right things must be done in order to protect the safety and integrity of the Nigerian aviation industry, which they have nurtured to enviable world standard”.

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