The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has been called upon to review the process of operating an Air Operator Certificate, AOC, by airline owners. The call was made in Lagos, by Captain Ibrahim Mshelia, Chairman, West-link airlines in Lagos. Mshelia, who chaired the annual conference, said there was need for the regulator to review policies and regulations that have been stifling the growth and development of the aviation industry. He said the frequent rate operators renew their Air Operator Certificate, AOC, was a heavy financial burden on the airline operators. He added that the issuance and renewal process is cubersome.
He further said that with the ” lopsidedness in the procurement procedures and the operational limits of AOC holders in Nigeria”, there was the urgent need to amend the Act and policy in order to empower the civil aviation authority to also break down the certification process of the airlines commercial operations.
He said “The word AOC has been so over-valued like a village masquerade that appears once in five years. This is not supposed to be so. Operations specifications, in this regard, is the masquerade and not the certificate”. He therefore proposed that the AOC should have ” No Expiry date unless suspended or revoked while the Operation specifications only should have a biannual expiry date to shed unnecessary expenses to the operators. Today, we have an unhealthy situation where there is a blanket issuance procedure of AOC for big, small, or large operations. Under this system, the roles of other segments of operators that are also entitled, by law, to operate commercial operations, unfettered as guaranteed by ICAO, are not spelt out. By ICAO standard, small, large and medium operations, including; Air Taxi, Air Charter, Cargo Only, nonscheduled and Scheduled operations etc, are recognised”.
Speaking also at the conference, the Vice Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, Mr. Allen Onyema said policies and regulations have also contributed to the failures of airlines, aside poor management. Onyema said there were several problems confronting the aviation industry, but the present government is addressing many of them. “Government policies in the recent past had been better compared to what we had in the past. The present government has done well in the area of policy such as customs duty waiver on aircraft spare parts and VAT and others that are favourable to the airlines,” he said.