The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has advised airline operators to observe existing regulatory laws to avert crises that often lead to operational shut down.
The agency said that Nigerian airlines will continue to undergo crises except they operate within the provisions of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs).
The regulatory body however noted that airlines going under was not peculiar to Nigeria but happens in other climes including developed aviation world.
NCAA General Manager, Public Relations, Mr Sam Adurogboye who gave the charge in Lagos, denied allegations that it has not been carrying out its oversight function diligently on airlines which brought about the take over two major domestic airlines; Aero and Arik Air by Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria(AMCON).
Speaking further, Adurogboye said,”We don’t operate airline for the owner, we don’t do feasibility studies for the owner.
We are only a regulatory body and we do our job as a regulator.
All over the world regulators don’t manage airlines for the owner and NCAA should not be an exception. Airlines have been going under it did not just start today.”
He pointed out that the challenge of the domestic airlines is that corporate governance is an issue, adding that whenever NCAA sanctions any airline for not playing by the rules, people come with the allegation that the agency wants to strangulate the airline.
Adurogboye stated that the essence of NCAA is not to regulate airlines into extinction but to assist in achieving and operating safe airline.
He posited that when NCAA assist airlines to survive, they don’t complain and people don’t hear about that but that when airlines are sanctioned for not doing the right thing, they allege that they are being regulated out of business.
He hinted that for Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to be issued to any operator, he must demonstrate ability to run safe airline; in that he must be able to spot the right equipment (aircraft), personnel for operations and fulfill other conditions in line with the laws guiding airline operation
He said that before a potential operator brings in the aircraft, NCAA will send its personnel to do pre-shipment checks where the aircraft are and when the equipment are brought into the country, the regulatory body carry out system checks.
He also added that NCAA ensures that the potential operator has insurance cover, maintain its aircraft in NCAA approved maintenance organisation and that when the aircraft is eventually ready, the regulatory body sends out inspectors to check the aircraft.
Adurogboye added that apart from that, the intending airline operator must do a demonstration flight to and fro the route he intends to operate without passengers; for example Lagos –Benin and Benin –Lagos.
He declared that it is after all these conditions have been fulfilled by the intending airline operator, that NCAA issues him an AOC.
In his words, “Once you are issued an AOC, it means that you have demonstrated capability to run safe airline.”
Speaking on the 5 per cent Ticket Sales Charge (TSA), Adurogboye explained that,”It is the money paid by passengers to sustain the Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), adding that NCAA can only be autonomous if it has financial autonomy.
He informed that this money are built into the ticket and collected by airlines unbehalf of the CAA but that instead of remitting the money as at when due, ”airlines has turned it into soft loans and they don’t remit it.”
On the number of airlines in the country and the number that had gone under, he informed that as at the year 2000, 150 airlines had emerged but that presently only eight domestic carriers are operating.
Airlines, he reiterated that airlines would go under if the owner does not operate in line with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCAR).adding that is envisaged that some will not play by the rules and that if that happen sanctions follows.
He further hinted that NCAA regulates airlines to survive and not to extinction, adding that embattled Aero which had been taken over by AMCON would have folded up long ago when Dr Harold Demuren was the Director General of NCAA, but that the regulatory body assisted it.
He urged that domestic carriers to comply with NCARs, warning that any airline that violates the regulations would be sanctioned.
On Airport Certification, Adurogboye explained that that there was no way NCAA could certify airports across the country without the landlord of the airport; the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).