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Civil aviation is one of the most regulated industries in the world. Every single technical personnel, equipment and airport must be certified and monitored by competent regulatory agencies known as Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs). Even the CAAs themselves are in turn assessed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other international bodies. The operating principles, guidelines and standards applied in civil aviation are based on the Standards And Recommended Practices (SARP) of ICAO and stipulated National laws and regulations.In Nigeria, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is the apex regulatory body, overseeing the activities of all airlines and their pilots, engineers and cabin staff, airports, airstrips and heliports, navigation aids, all service providers including the airport authority and the air traffic service provider, aviation training institutions, etc. NCAA watches over the entire industry. Its role can aptly be described as that of "general overseer" or "referee:' For want of a better sobriquet, NCAA has even been address as the "police" of the industry.
While all these are correct, NCAA is essentially a facilitator of compliance of aviation safety and economic regulations.
NCAA therefore regulates the industry through series of well coordinated procedures. The Authority sets safety standards, issue licenses and operating certificates to personnel and service providers and monitors their compliance through a range of surveillance activities. Where safety rules are breeched, the NCAA takes strong corrective actions to enforce compliance which may include sanctions.
The 2006 Civil Aviation Act established the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority as the apex aviation safety regulator, with responsibility for regulating the whole industry, including the airlines and the service providers such as the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria. As required by the Act, NCAA has promulgated the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, to give specificity to the Standards And Recommended Practices (SARP) of ICAO. The NCAA further publishes technical guidance material, in the form of Orders and Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja LagosAdvisory Circulars, for the guidance of the Authority's safety inspectors and industry participants.
One of the key instruments of NCAA's regulation is the issuance or revalidation of licenses such as Air Operator's Certificate (AOC), Air Transport Licence (ATL), Airline Operating Permit (AOP), Permit for Non Commercial Flight (PNCF) and Air Travel Organizer's License (ATOL). NCAA's Aviation Safety Inspectors conduct unscheduled on the spot inspections of the operations of airlines and other service providers to ensure continuous compliance with the regulations guiding their operations.
The Authority is endowed with some of the best and brightest professionals in the industry. At the NCAA, great emphasis is placed on workers' integrity and professionalism. As a matter of principle, NCAA respects and consults with the regulated. NCAA is also well structured to take on this important task. NCAA provides services in the most efficient, effective, quality and technology driven manner to stakeholders.