Stakeholders castigate Reps over directive to NCAA to suspend issuance of AOC to NG




Posted by Sade Williams 


Players in the Nigerian aviation in­dustry have castigated the House of Representatives’ Committee on Aviation on the call for the suspen­sion of issuance of Air Operators’ Certificate (AOC) to a startup air­line, NG Eagle, by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

This is as Dr. Gabriel Olowo, the President, Aviation Round Table (ART), described the House committee as an inter­loper, insisting that it is not within its purview to issue such a directive to the regula­tory agency.

Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, the Chair­man of House Committee on Aviation had on Wednesday in Abuja hinged the directive on the petition received from a section of the unions, asking for NCAA not to issue the airline an AOC, which would enable it to operate as a schedule carrier.

The unions, Association of Nigerian Aviation Profession­als (ANAP) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) branch of the Nation­al Union of Pensioners (NUP), according to him, had alleged that Arik Air, which is under the receivership of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was mas­sively indebted to FAAN.

The same NG Eagle is be­ing financed by AMCON and the unions purported that the corporation was trying to evade payment of the monumental debts owed to all the aviation agencies by Arik Air and de­cided to launch NG Eagle.

Dr. Gabriel Olowo insisted that it was not the responsibil­ity of the National Assembly to direct NCAA to issue or turndown application for an AOC for impending airline, stressing that issuance of AOC must follow the recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Olowo further said that even the Ministry of Aviation or the Minister of Aviation lacked the power to order NCAA not to is­sue an AOC to any impending airline and wondered where the aviation committee derived its power from.

Olowo, who is also the President of Sabre Network, West Africa, declared that the autonomy of NCAA was not negotiable, stressing that once the regulatory body assented to the directive, the Nigerian civil aviation would collapse finally.

He declared that if the Na­tional Assembly felt any airline was not qualified to operate in the country, it could go to court to challenge its status, but not ordering NCAA not to issue op­erating certificate to a qualified operator.

He said: “This amounts to interloping. I don’t think it is the responsibility of the con­gress (National Assembly) to direct NCAA to issue or not to issue AOC. This is established in ICAO regulation, that no matter how powerful the min­istry is, which is the political arm of government, it can only wield influence, but not to dictate to NCAA.

“The criteria to award AOC are under the purview of NCAA. That is the agen­cy that has the right on who to issue licence to. NCAA is recognised internationally as an institution to regulate civil aviation. The autonomy of NCAA is not negotiable. We will be killing NCAA if we allow such interferences over its activities.”

Also, Grp. Capt. John Ojik­utu (rtd.), the Chief Executive Officer of Centurion Securi­ties Limited, told our corre­spondent that the National Assembly could not interfere on critical issue concerning the issuance of AOC, which follows strict regulation.

Ojikutu wondered where the committee got its power from.

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