Stakeholders and investors in the aviation industry have said that the autonomy of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) is jon- negotiable and should be guarded.
This is just as the Civil Aviation Authority has been urged to digitise and automate safety and economic regulatory processes in line with global trends and best practices.
These were some of the submissions of the 39-point communique issued at the end of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) Quarter 2, 2023 Brunch Business Meeting with the theme: Aviation Reset: Agenda For The New Administration.
Senator Musa Adede who spoke after the opening address said that one major problem he found in the industry was the fact that the NCAA had given up its autonomy to the Ministry despite what the 2000 Civil Aviation Act contained.
He said, “One of the problems I find in the aviation industry especially with our NCAA, I was in the Senate and we passed the 2000 Act establishing the NCAA. We gave autonomous powers to the NCAA they have migrated that power and given it back to the Ministry. You don’t need to apply to the minister to apply to bring in an aircraft , no! NCAA has dumped that power and that act is here, you can go take a look at it, it has not been changed. So, NCAA has to help Nigerian Aviation industry.
Highlighting his concern, the first point of the Commuique signed by ART Secretary General, Olumide Ohunayo read:
“The autonomy of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority should be restored and jealously guarded as provided in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act, 2022, Part 2, Section 4(3) which states that “The Authority shall be independent in the discharge of its duties and functions…and for that purpose shall not, except as provided under this Act, take directives from any person or authority.”
Adede had also drawn the attention of stakeholders to the manual processes the regulatory agency carried out its end-to-end operational.processes with its charges.
He stated,”I say this without any apologies, NCAA staff are not computer literate and not IT Compliant. So they ask you to give them volumes of manuals they will never read. And you can imagine 30 airlines coming here with manuals, how would you read it? Everybody has gone digital so I will plead with the Aviation industry, especially the regulators to help us.”
On this, point six and seven of the communique read,”The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority should rapidly enhance its regulatory obligations by digitalising and automating end – to – end their safety and economic regulatory processes in line with global trends and best practices.
‘The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority should ensure that the entire aviation ecosystem is cyber safe and cyber secure to forestall potential cyber-attacks which are a global scourge to every industry and most critical to industries like aviation.”
The Communique also argued the need to review the Air Operators’ Certificates (AOCs) Renewal regime and processes to encourage more investors.
According to players, AOCs are a lifetime document and only revoked during extreme safety violations but in Nigeria, the AOCs operate under a ‘valid till’ system for years which does not encourage as the renewal process is equally tedius amd not encouraging.