Operators seek removal of expiry dates from AOCs

From left, Senator Smart Adeyemi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation; Hon Nnolim Nnaji, Chairman, House Committee on Aviation;
Mr Segun Koiki, Chairman, League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents LAAC; Captain Ibrahim Mshelia, Chairman, West Link Airlines and Chairman of the occasion and Engineer Akin Olateru, Commissioner/CEO, Accident Investigation Bureau representing Senator Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation at the 25th LAAC Annual Conference and Awards with the theme ‘Nigeria’s Aviation Industry: Management, Policy & Regulation’ held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos on Wednesday.


Posted by Sade Williams


To shed unnecessary expenses from airline businesses, operators have suggested the removal of expiry dates from Air Operators’ Certificates (AOCs) as well as amend the Civil Aviation Act.

One of the operators, Captain Ibrahim Mshelia, Chairman of West Link Airlines, who was also the chairman on the occasion of the  League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) 25th Conference with theme: Aviation in Nigeria: Management, Policy and Regulation, lamented that the word AOC has been so over-valued like a village masquerade that appears once in five years, saying this is not supposed to be so.

According to him, operations specifications, in this regard, is the masquerade and not the certificate.

“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, to empower the civil aviation to also break down the certification process 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 the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), are not spelt out. By ICAO standard, small, large and medium operations, including; Air Taxi, Air Charter, Cargo Only, nonscheduled and Scheduled operations etc, are recognised.

“It is interesting because ICAO does not discriminate because of the size of a nation. The Organisation allows several models of the size of the CAA of a country; small, medium or large CAA. ICAO also expects performance variance with the various sizes and accepts them into the comity of nations on the council.  In oversighting also, ICAO has developed Checklist; small CAA, Medium CAA or large CAA.

” In certifying our operators however, one checklist is used for all. In order to enforce the norms and do all that is required to make our aviation sector conform with global norms, it is also expedient to ensure that we have the right staff with requisite experience to follow policy to letter and enforce it without fair or favour. ICAO has a model recommended in DOC 8335. CAAs are encouraged to use that scale. Nigeria should and must close that gap. It is a serious safety concern, similar to an unsafe aircraft or untrained crew, taking to the Skies.

“And in doing this, a thorough overhaul of the inspectorate division of our civil aviation agency becomes a sine-qua-non. This has to be done quickly, to galvanise the Nigerian aviation industry achievements. The staff of the agencies have done well so far but the new and desired NCAA will require a huge change of attitude as well.

” The AOC is hereby proposed to have no expiry date unless suspended or revoked while the ops specs only should have a biannual expiry, to shed unnecessary expenses to the operators. I will also suggest that only qualified technical staff in the agencies should be hired and paid salaries commensurate with their counterparts abroad. I am of the opinion that the sector can afford that if we employ only relevant personnel”, he said.

Currently, AOCs are renewed every two years and this put financial burden on the airlines.

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