CHAIRMAN of West Link Airlines, Captain Ibrahim Mshelia has said that there is need to amend the Civil Aviation Act  proposing that the Air Operators Certificate (AOC)  should  have no expiry date unless suspended or revoked while the ops specs only should have a biannual expiry

Currently, AOCs are renewed every two years and according to the West Link boss this also adds unnecessary expenses to the operators as AOCs should not be over emphasized as opposed to operations specification

Mshelia who chaired the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) 25th Conference with theme: Aviation in Nigeria: Management, Policy and Regulation, led the front-lines to canvass a change in the status quo where there is a blanket issuance procedure of AOC for big, small, or large operations

He said, “With the lopsidedness in the procurement procedures and the operational limits of AOC holders in Nigeria, there is an urgent need to amend our act and policy in this area, to empower the civil aviation to also break down the certification process of our commercial operations. The word AOC has been so over-valued like a village masquerade that appears once in five years. This is not supposed to be so. Operations specifications,  in this regard, is the masquerade and not the certificate. I believe the speakers here today, and even the DG, NCAA will agree with me in their subsequent comments.

“Today, we have an unhealthy situation where there is a blanket issuance procedure of AOC for big, small, or large operations. Under this system, the roles of other segments of operators that are also entitled, by law, to operate commercial operations, unfettered as guaranteed by ICAO, are not spelt out.

He decried that the current regulations embark on a one shoe fits all policy which is inimical to growth.

He said,”In oversighting also, ICAO has developed Checklist; small CAA, Medium CAA or large CAA. In certifying our operators however, one checklist is used for all. In order to enforce the norms and do all that is required to make our aviation sector conform with global norms, it is also expedient to ensure that we have the right staff with requisite experience to follow policy to letter and enforce it without fair or favour.

“ ICAO has a model recommended in DOC 8335. CAAs are encouraged to use that scale. Nigeria should and must close that gap. It is a serious safety concern, similar to an unsafe aircraft or untrained crew, taking to the Skies.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), TAL Helicopters, Engr. Femi Adeniji, while responding at the conference  explained that in other climes like the United States, for instance, AOCs are acquired for life unless such an airline has issues, which grounded its operations for years.

He argued that the same could be replicated in Nigeria, and called on NCAA to amend its regulations and put them in tandem with developments around the world.

According to him, the one-shoe-fits –all approach in the regulation needed to be expunged for true development to set in.

Also speaking, Sen. Smart Adeyemi, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, assured the players in the industry that the NCAR bill presently before the assembly would be passed very soon.

He explained that the passage of the executive bill would further accelerate growth in the Nigerian aviation industry, maintaining that the National Assembly would do all within its capacity to move the sector forward.


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