The Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu has charged stakeholders in the industry to stop making wild allegations and uninformed comments on sensitive issues capable of creating bad blood and cause problems in the system.

Rather than that, clarifications should be sought from the Authority.

The DG made this charge while speaking with newsmen on issues bothering on extension of Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and the granting of multiple designations to foreign operators.

While adducing reason behind extending validity of an AOC, Capt. Musa said such extension for some operating airlines is a stop-gap which sometimes becomes inevitable for safety and sustainability of the system.     

According to him, “Renewal is not automatic. It is a process with steps which must be completed. 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 for a period of 30 days usually.”

“However, before the extension completes, their renewal is given. People just talk without seeking clarifications. We look at the situations; give them extension while we continue to work to complete the renewal process. Hence, instead of disrupting the system, an extension is unavoidably given for that period so that they can continue their operations,'' he explained.

Speaking on the maximum period of extension, NCAA DG said: “The most we have given 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 the NCAA, we now ground one or two airlines, can you imagine the chaos that we will have in the industry?”.

Capt. Nuhu expressed displeasure at a situation where and when some individuals who are respected members of the industry and who are supposed to be front-runners for the industry, without seeking NCAA clarifications, make false comments for whatever reasons.

The DG reiterated one of the policy thrusts of his administration which is to ensure open door where the public including stakeholders can come to him and the NCAA to make enquiries and seek clarifications on issues rather than go out there and make wild comments with potentials of aggravating the bourgeoning system.

In his words: “I expect people to seek clarifications. When you don't seek clarifications and you go and make statements that are contrary and negative, you are only creating more problems for the industry. So, rather than making blanket condemnations without clarifications, people first and foremost need to understand what the actual issues are 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,” he added.

Concerning granting multiple entries to foreign airlines, Capt. Musa stated that the Authority is not responsible for Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and Multilateral Air Services Agreement (MASA) negotiations to airlines. According to him, negotiation of BASA and/or MASA is a policy issue and as such, is led by the supervising Ministry of Aviation.

"Though NCAA makes its own contributions to the process, the final decision lies with the Ministry. So, anyone that blames NCAA for that definitely lacks understanding of how BASA negotiations work for Nigeria as every country has its own peculiarity on how they do BASA. In Nigeria, it is the Ministry”, he clarified.

Regarding the dust raised by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) in relation to anti-competition practices vis-à-vis airfare spike, Capt. Musa declared that deregulation of airfares was not so unfettered that the airlines can do as they please.

According the NCAA helmsman, "FCCPC has its own functions, which are different from that of NCAA. FCCPC deals with consumer protection and NCAA deals with air transport regulation, which I think still deals with the issue of airfares. 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 will tell them no. It is not an unfettered deregulation that they can do as they like, there are guidelines to that in our regulations,” he declared. 


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