NCAA DG: TAL’s AOC ‘ll be renewed when operator meets ICAO’s requirements

Capt. Musa Nuhu, DG, NCAA


Posted by Sade Williams


The Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu has said that  NCAA will continue to operate within its mandate to the safe, secure and efficiency of the industry as enshrined in the 2006 Civil Aviation ACT, revealing that the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) of an indigenous operator, Tropical Artic Logistics (TAL), would be renewed when the operator meets all the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

He also said that the NCAA will not compromise in the enforcement of safety standards, regulatory requirements and SARPs in conformity with all regulatory requirements and ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in the initial issuance and renewal of all Air Operators Certificate (AOC) irrespective of the personality or and organization involved.

He was responding to a purported interview with the Chief Operating Officer of Tropical Artic Logistics (TAL), Mr. Femi Adeniji, during which he made several allegations and accusations against Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

On the matter of non-renewal of TAL’s AOC, the NCAA helmsman categorically stated that TAL fell short in meeting the requirements for the renewal the AOC as it currently does not have three out of four key nominated post holders.

The missing key personnel include the Director of Maintenance, Director of Flight Operations and Chief Pilot. In addition, the operator is yet to comply with COVID-19 Industry Restart Program like all other industry players did before receiving approval to resume operations. TAL’s AOC will be renewed when these requirements have been satisfactorily met.

The DG further stated the 5th Phase of AOC process (both initial and renewal) is not peculiar to Nigeria as it is an ICAO requirement (ICAO Annex 6 Parts I and III and ICAO Document 8335) which is captured in Nig.CARS 2015 Part 9 on AOC Certification. These strict regulations are to ensure only qualified applicants are granted AOC. This is one of the main reasons Nigeria attained FAA IASA Category 1 in the first instance.

“Nig.CARS 2015 were established with the participation and consultation of all industry stakeholders and must be complied with to the full extent until such a time there is a review of the regulations. This the reason for name Nigerian Civil Regulations (Nig.CARS) rather than NCAA Regulations”.

The NCAA boss further stated that manufacturers recommendations as alluded to by TAL’s Chief Operating Officer are just “recommendations” which can neither override nor replace regulations based on ICAO SARPS and Annexes. No manufacturer has the authority to issue an extension approval without the knowledge and approval of Civil Aviation Authorities which ultimately responsible for the safety of flight operations. Extensions are the prerogative of CAAs period.

“During a Certificate of Airworthiness Inspection of the operator’s AW139 Helicopter with registration 5N-BVQ in June 2020, it was discovered that machine was being operated with a component (Tank Foam) that was overdue for replacement. A review of the records showed that the OEM, Leonardo Helicopters had supplied TAL with all replacements KITS and advised the operator to contact NCAA for extension. NCAA was neither contacted for an extension nor the Tank Foam was replaced. An enforcement action was taken by the issuance of a Letter of Investigation (LOI) and the requirement of compliance with OEM’s recommendations. The maintenance repairs and replacement of the tank Foam was performed by Aero Contractors and some serious defects were identified and fixed”.

According to Captain Musa Nuhu, contrary to the insinuation that NCAA personnel trained at Ukraine University neither had industry experience nor competent to effectively perform their duties, he gave examples of two prominent Nigerians amongst several others who had trained in Ukraine and performed creditably well beyond all expectations. Dr. OB Aliu and Dr. Harold Demurren two globally recognized and respected personalities for their antecedents and which records speak for themselves.

“These two global aviation Ambassadors from Nigeria served in NCAA as a Director and Director General, the platform for their successful future endeavours. Dr. OB Aliu served as two-term President of the Council ICAO the apex global civil aviation body, a period unprecedented safety improvement and growth of the global aviation with the introduction of global and regional programmes such as “No Country Left Behind Initiative” and “AFI Plan” amongst several others”, he noted.

In addition, he explained that all inspectors irrespective of their prior qualifications and or experience must undergo comprehensive training programme under the Inspector Training System (ITS). This includes 5 mandatory courses, appropriate specialized courses and On-The-Job-Training. This training system which is continuously ongoing is not only recognized but also recommended by ICAO. ITS applies to all inspectors without exception.

The DG expressed his exasperation on the insinuation of corruption in the system, adding that If Mr. Adeniji has any evidence of either corruption or any corrupt practices he should file a complain with relevant authorities for investigations and follow-up actions rather than casting questionable doubts in the public fora on the credibility of the authority.

He added that it is also sad the COO of TAL took it upon himself to illegally record the official discussion with an NCAA staff for reasons best known to him, this matter was resolved at a police station with Mr. Adeniji giving an unreserved apology.

However, Captain Musa Nuhu did accept that NCAA was not a perfect entity and had its own peculiar challenges and difficulties like all organizations, though there is room for improvement.

One major challenge is that of manual processes in the authority that can be cumbersome, inefficient and difficult.

“Management has recognized these shortcomings and developed plans to digitize its documentation and automate its internal for processes not only for enhanced efficiency and effectiveness but most importantly to deal with the rapid growth of the domestic industry. The plan amongst other include the acquisition of Safety Oversight Management System (currently in procurement) which forms the backbone of several CAAs. The implementation of this system is expected to start in the 4th quarter of this year. Other measures including the implementation of a Quality Management System, ISO 9001 Certification together with Technical Quality Assurance. Change management ranks high in the successful implementation of these plans and it is being given the appropriate level of attention and resources”, he explained.

The NCAA Helmsman extended his hand of friendship to all industry players for the benefit of the nation and stressed that NCAA was a partner in progress rather than the proverbial industry policeman. The Authority is ready and willing to work with all parties to resolve any challenge or difficulty they may face as it has already done with many.

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