Thursday, September 29, 2022

Remove expiry date from AOCs: Aviation stakeholders

“We have an unhealthy situation where there is a blanket issuance procedure of AOC for big, small, or large operations.”

• July 29, 2021
Murtala Muh'd Int'l Airport.
Murtala Muh’d Int’l Airport

Aviation stakeholders have called for an amendment of the Civil Aviation Act to remove the expiry date from the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

They made the plea during the 25th Annual Conference and Award Ceremony organised by the League of Aviation and Airports Correspondents (LAAC) in Lagos on Thursday.

The 25th conference was with the theme, “Nigeria’s Aviation Industry: Management, Policy and Regulation.”

Chairman of West Link Airlines, Ibrahim Mshelia, urged industry players to take a cue from other developed aviation industries across the world by obliterating the expiry date in the AOC issued to local airlines.

“With the lopsidedness in the procurement procedures and the operational limits of AOC holders in Nigeria, there is an urgent need to amend our act and policy in this area.

“This is to empower civil aviation to also break down certification processes of our commercial operations.

“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,” Mr Mshelia said.

He said that in certifying the operators, however, one checklist was being used for all, adding that there was the need to enforce the norms and do all that was required to make the aviation sector conform with global norms.

The chief executive officer of TAL helicopters, Femi Adeniji, explained that other countries, like the United States, for instance, acquired AOCs for life unless such an airline had issues that grounded its operations for years.

Mr Adeniji argued that the same could be replicated in Nigeria, urging the NCAA to amend its regulations and put them in tandem with developments around the world.

He said the one-shoe-fits-all approach in the regulation needs to be removed for true development to set in.

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