Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka
Private jets registered in foreign numbers that operate commercially in Nigeria as well as Nigerian registered private jets that engage in hire and reward are in for hard times over diversification from their Air Operators Certificate (AOC) as Federal Government has threatened to ground them as from Thursday, February 5, 2015.
This is as the government has mandated all airlines operating in the country to henceforth have Nigerian pilots in their cockpits from July 1, 2015, warning that failure to comply with this would lead to revocation of their Air Operator’s Certificates, AOC.
Minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka gave this directive yesterday in Lagos at the launching of the Aviation Commits Initiative, which he said would help to close some gaps in the system.
Reeling out the statistics, Chidoka revealed that at the moment, there are 90 foreign registered aircraft in the country with additional 111 Nigerian registered carriers currently in use in the system, stressing that some of them have diverted from their operational certificates.
He decried that their diversion from their operational certificates had led to loss of massive revenues to the federal government and urged them to regularise their papers before the Thursday deadline.
He insisted that by February 5, 2015, if the affected airlines failed to regularize their papers as expected, the federal government through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, would ground their operations and revoke their licences.
Besides, as parts of AOC acquisition by scheduled airlines, Chidoka said they would be required to train sizeable numbers of technical personnel like pilots and engineers yearly, threatening that failure to comply with this policy would lead to non-revalidation of their AOCs by NCAA.
Chidoka further emphasised that as from July 1, 2015, all Nigerian airlines would be mandated to have Nigerian pilots in their cockpits, stressing that for Nigeria to develop, Nigerians must be developed through training of technical staff as at when due.
On the Aviation Commits Initiative, Chidoka said the initiative was aimed at re-packaging, re-branding and re-directing the aviation industry in Nigeria towards enhanced service delivery and cutomer satisfaction.
He described the initiative as a bold attempt by the aviation sector in the country to acknowledge the need for service improvement to its customers and publicly commit to carrying out such improvements as appropriate.
He said, “The aviation industry in Nigeria has a great potentials, which we need to unlock, but for this to happen, it requires the contribution of everyone. Business and institutions that wish to remain relevant are undergoing transformation and Nigeria cannot be left behind.
“Aviation industry in Nigeria in the last four years has witnessed huge investments with the remodeling of the airports in Kebbi, Bauch, Jigawa and Gombe. These new airports will make air travel easier and faster with air connectivity to state capitals. Nigeria can eventually become a hub in the continent with these softwares.”
Also, the Vice President Namadi Sambo in his address said that aviation globally remains pivotal to the economic development of the globe, stressing that President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration remained believed in the development of the sector.
In a bid to develop the sector in the country, he pointed out that the government had embarked on infrastructural upgrade, increase in the number of domestic operators, retention of the American Category Status and review of 2013 National Aviation Policy by the government.
He stated that the government was introducing Aviation Commits Initiative in order to block some certain gaps in the system while also improving services and commended Chidoka for the bold move in redirecting activities in the sector.