There Are AOC Processes Outside NCAA Purview, Says DG
The Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu has explained that there are aspects of Airline Operators’ Certificate (AOC) processing that are outside the NCAA purview.
Speaking on the status of Nigeria Air application for AOC, he said: “The only thing I can tell you is that the promoters of that airline have applied and their AOC is ongoing. I don’t have any assurances of when the licenses would be. You see, when you apply for AOC or any certification, some issues are not completely under the purview of NCAA like seeking security clearance for the applicant. Security agents do that. I don’t have a control over security agencies to give such clearances. They have applied and it is ongoing. We are waiting for security clearance.”
On the extension of AOC for some operating airlines, Nuhu said: “To renew AOC, there are certain conditions and processes that must be completed. If for whatever reason, either from the operator or the NCAA, we cannot complete those processes before the expiration of the AOC, we will extend it for them. Extension is for the system to continue, to ensure that all regulatory requirements are complied with for the renewal. Sometimes for some reasons, some operators are not able to meet certain requirements on time or maybe, on our own part, we cannot complete the process. Then, we say instead of disrupting the system, we give them extension for that period so that they can continue their operations. Before the extension completes, their renewal is given.
People just talk without seeking clarifications. So, we look at the situations, give them extension while we continue to work to complete the renewal process. Renewal is not automatic. It is a process with steps, which must be completed.
The most we have given (as maximum period of extension) if I am not mistaken, is 90 days; but usually, it is hardly more than 30 days. We do this thing so that the system will keep functioning. You can imagine if we are unable to complete the process either on the part of the airline or NCAA. We now ground one or two airlines. Can you imagine the chaos that we will have in the industry? So, people need to understand rather than do blanket condemnation without clarifications on what the actual issue is and why we are doing what we do. It is the same people that will turn around and insult us if we don’t renew the AOC of a particular airline. Whatever you do, head or tail, you lose. I want to appeal to some of the industry analysts or stakeholders to come to us before making any public comments. When they hear stories or something, they can come to us and seek clarifications, rather than go out there and make wild comments, which aggravate the system. I read a lot in different platforms daily and sometimes, it is annoying when certain people who are respected members of the industry, and are supposed to be the conduit for the industry, make false comments for whatever reasons without seeking NCAA clarifications. We are open and ready to answer questions from the public. I expect people to seek clarifications. When you don’t seek clarifications and you go and make statements that are contrary, you are only making more problems for the industry.”
On NCAA’s role in emerging at airlines’ airfares, Capt Nuhu said: “All airlines are supposed to at the beginning of each year, file their airfares to NCAA and most of the airlines do that. However, during the year, if the airfares are going to be higher than the ones filed before the NCAA, the airline is supposed to notify NCAA. Then, we will do our reasonableness check and if we are good with it, we tell them to go ahead, but if not, we say no. It is not an unfettered deregulation that they can do as they like. There are guidelines to that in our regulations.”
As for those heaping all multiple designation responsibilities on NCAA, Nuhu said: “Unfortunately, NCAA is not the one responsible for BASA negotiations to airlines. It is a policy issue and this is led by the Ministry. NCAA makes its own contributions, but the final decision is by the Ministry. So, anyone that blames NCAA for that is doing so out of lack of understanding of how BASA negotiations work for Nigeria; and every country has its own peculiarity on how they do BASA. In Nigeria, it is the ministry.”