- Act to plug regulation gaps, make general aviation easily accessible
This is just as the regulator has vowed that private aircraft engaged in illegal charter operations will incur the full wrath of the law from fines to withdrawals of certification if need be stressing that it is making intentional efforts to strengthen General Aviation in the country.
Director General of the NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu who was hosted in African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) Speaker Webinar by Chairman, Mr. Nick Fadugba made these known while responding to questions geared at the development of business aviation in the country stressed the importance of reviewing the Aviation Act.READ ALSO: NCAA says plans underway to de-clutter regulations to boost General Aviation
He said,”In the next two months, end of June or in early July the new Civil Aviation Act will come out. We have done the public seating already
He also said that due to the inherent gaps in the system operators were slipping through and that was a reason why the regulatory agency was reviewing the Civil Aviation Act and make regulation and compliance as well as acquisition of Air Operators Certificates (AOC)for investors in general aviation easier and different from commercial airline operation.
Captain Nuhu further explained that of the 100 business aircraft in Nigeria only about 23 were registered in Nigeria and despite the law that allows for them to use the aircraft between 6-12 months many have perfected the Act in bypassing the system due to cracks and that the reviewed Act would see to that.
Nuhu said,“It’s a high percentage and the 70 I mentioned; out of the 70 only about 46 are actually active and so I guess some our out and they haven’t come back. Yes, it is a bit unusual where you have foreign registered aircraft much more than the Nigerian registered in the country and we try to encourage the foreign registered to de-register and register here in Nigeria its getting there but at a very slow rate and maybe they need to see a more stable macroeconomic environment so they can de-register and put in a Nigerian registration. READ MORE: Why Nigeria needs to develop general aviation to employ hundreds of pilots
“ A bit of more confidence in the regulatory function will help do that, we try to work with them to see how they can de register. I’ve seen a couple of request for that and we are making progress.
“Basically, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (NCARs) Part 22.214.171.124 allows foreign operations for aircraft from 2-12 months and for an initial six months renewable for another six months. I must say a lot of operators have found a way to go around that requirement by going out and returning to go through the process again.
“Right now, the Civil Aviation Act is under review at the national assembly and once it is done passed and signed into law by his Excellency, the president we intend to review some of our regulations and promulgating some specific regulations as applies to general aviation and these are some of the issues we intend to look at and sort but right now we are tied to our own regulations. There are some gaps in the system but we have noticed it once we review the regulations ,” he said.
“In addition to that we will like to develop a new regulatory regime for general aviation, to encourage people to encourage the general aviation to be more comfortable to come and take their registration in Nigeria.”
He decried illegal operations by private aircraft license holders who under one guise or bypass the gaps to carry out illegal charter costing the nation revenue and stressed that if caught the full wrath of the law would be used.
He however decried that it was sometimes difficult to prove that private aircraft carry charter since most times the CAA does not get the cooperation of the passengers who use those services.
He said,”…these private operators are required to file monthly reports on the number of flights conducted and the passenger manifest for us to look and determine if some are illegal charters, yes we are trying our best and we have a couple of cases we are dealing with. One of the cases, the enforcement team has recommended 60 days suspension of their certificate and an additional fine so they have a period of 30 days of which to get back to us, protest or bring evidence to exonerate them but the time has run out. READ ALSO: Operator charges NCAA; DSS to go after illegal charter operators
“It’s on the difficult side to identify some because you need the cooperation of the customers who use these services and sometimes customers are not forth coming. We are boosting ramp checks, spot checks and we keep working on it till we get this right.
“One other thing we can do when we review or regulations to make it easier for the regulatory requirements for charter operations, we need to have a way of making it easier because right now, it’s like having requirement for an airline AOC. So we on our part can make it easier for those who legitimately want to do charter operations to do that through friendly and smart operations.
“But I can assure you, anyone doing illegal black market charter operations will incur the full wrath of the law.”