The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has announced the extension of the validity period for Air Operator’s certificates.
The extension is for scheduled and non-scheduled operators to five years and three years, respectively.
The new validity period allows airlines the freedom to carry out their operations without disruption, adding that fees and charges had not been updated since 2009.
The Chairman, Regulations Committee, Engr. Godwin Balang, disclosed this at the stakeholders’ consultation on the proposed NCAA regulation 2023 in Abuja on Tuesday.
Balang said, “The validity period of the AOC has been extended to five years for scheduled operators and three years for non-scheduled operators just to give AOC holders some freedom to carry out their operations.”
In his opening remarks, the Director General NCAA disclosed the reviewed penalties upwards for violators in the industry with the maximum penalty for airlines standing at N10 million while the minimum at N1m.
Nuhu, however, stated that the upward review of penalties is not punitive but was guided by current realities in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
He added that the powers of the NCAA to regulate civil aviation in Nigeria are captured throughout the Civil Aviation Act 2022, and that Section 31 of the Act empowers the authority to make regulations on all aspects of civil aviation matters.
The NCAA boss added that the regulations also address pertinent national matters.
He said the stakeholders’ consultation is in accordance with the obligation imposed on the Authority in section 31(5) of the Civil Aviation Act 2022 which states that “the exercise of its power to make regulations under this section, the authority shall consult with stakeholders including airlines, aerodrome operators, air traffic control service providers, consumers and other relevant bodies and organisations in the aviation industry.”
He further stated that stakeholders are invited to note that all comments received from stakeholders pursuant to the Notice of Proposed Amendments published on February 12, 2023, in accordance with the approved NCAA rule-making process manual will be responded to by the NCAA.
He said,” I am optimistic that during these three days of deliberation, the aviation professionals and experts present physically or virtually will assist the Authority to derive near-perfect Regulations for the advancement of Civil Aviation in Nigeria.”
During the interactive session, some key players noted that some operators have been punished unjustifiably for actions not properly investigated and penalties slammed on the operators without any reference to International Civil Aviation Organisation or any regulatory body.
However, they wondered if ICAO standards were being followed and on what basis the authority was increasing charges and sanctioning airlines arbitrarily.
In his response, the DG assured that the agency’s action was in line with ICAO standards and that when they benchmark their charges with other charges elsewhere in dollars, they found out that theirs was exceptionally low.