During a virtual conference held over the weekend with aviation correspondents, the director-general of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu, stated that airlines must have significant financial backing and no fewer than six aircraft in order to be permitted to carry out operations in the country. According to him, domestic airlines’ most prominent issue is a lack of resources to deal with problems. The director general stated that the new policy applies to both new and existing businesses and that all businesses were given a number of time to adjust to the new regulations.
Prior to that, domestic airline operators were required to possess a minimum of three aircraft that were capable of flying before beginning operations. According to Nuhu, the issue is that a significant number of airlines do not even have the capability to meet their existing financial responsibilities. In the event that an operator, for instance, has three but loses one of them, it will be difficult for them to continue with their activities as planned. After that, they start having problems with things like airline delays, cancellations, and other such occurrences.
Both new and existing operators have to comply with the regulation.
The kind of business an operator conducts will determine the number of aircraft they can own and operate. One can imagine the chaos that would occur if an operator came into a market with only one or two planes, sold tickets to passengers, and then saw one of their planes go out of business. It is clear that the operator has a very solid financial basis for managing an airline, given that they have six aircrafts. This is not only for new members but also for those who have been around and have a period by which they are required to comply with this need.
However, the nation will continue to face this persistent challenge if most operators own only one or two aircraft. They need to avoid that. Critiques will be voiced, but the reality is that each nation is unique. They have to consider the peculiarities of the country’s history and attempt to devise a solution because the regulations can’t be set on nothing. Should the circumstances evolve, the regulation will be re-examined in light of the new circumstances. They can make any changes to the agreement whenever it is deemed appropriate before the standard period of time of five years.
Nigeria has more aircraft in registry than other West African countries.
Nuhu added that Nigeria is home to a large number of airlines but that very few of them are actively flying due to a lack of available aircrafts. Being the head of the NCAA, he explained that any airline that has the financial capacity to purchase six also has the financial capacity to provide scheduled operations. He added that with that kind of resources, it would not fail in a few years, considering that its name would still be in the NCAA registry.
More aircraft are listed under Nigeria’s registry than any other West African country. They have fewer airports, airlines, or Air Operator Certificates (AOC) than Nigeria does. Additionally, the number of carriers that they do have is far lower. According to Nuhu, the industry as a whole is extremely large and complicated, and there are significant demands that must be met. From the available record, the country had a total of 16 AOC about 12 years ago, and currently, it has 32, of which only 12 are scheduled operators.
Every process will now be automated with the regulatory software.
It is not sustainable for the country to continue functioning the way that it is now functioning. They recognise the need for changes and have begun to work towards implementing those changes. They are currently in the process of purchasing regulatory software and expect to have it up and running within the next week, at which point they will begin educating their personnel on its use. They are going to make it a priority to ensure that 80 to 90 percent of the processes carried out by the NCAA, as well as those carried out by third parties, are automated.