Sarah Thompson
Tue, Aug 8, 2023 11:00 AM

Divergent Views on Nigeria's New Aviation Regulations

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Divergent Views on Nigeria's New Aviation Regulations
Players in the Nigerian aviation industry have expressed differing opinions on the new Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) Act 2022. While some believe that the regulations will bring stability and reduce delays and cancellations in the industry, others argue that it will discourage investors and exacerbate unemployment among aviation professionals. There are also calls for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to reconsider the regulations and to engage stakeholders in decision-making processes.

Lagos - The recent Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) Act 2022, which stipulates a minimum of six aircraft for start-up airlines before being issued Air Operator's Certificates (AOCs) by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has sparked varied reactions within the country's aviation industry.

Some industry players have expressed concerns that the increased minimum requirement of six aircraft for start-up airlines, as opposed to the previous minimum of two, could discourage potential investors. Engr. Cyril Obuah, former Director at Azman Air, warned that this regulation may be counterproductive and hinder the growth of the industry. He argued that many airlines, both current and defunct, began their operations with two aircraft or less when the country's economy was not as dire as it is today. Obuah emphasized that the collapse of most defunct carriers was primarily due to a poor economy, unfavorable exchange rates, and corrupt leadership, rather than mismanagement.

Obuah called for the NCAA to encourage the government to support the establishment of more airlines, particularly in the wake of the failed national carrier, Nigeria Air. He predicted that the implementation of the new regulations would result in increased unemployment among aviation professionals.

However, Capt. Mohammed Badamasi, a former pilot with Nigeria Airways, urged the NCAA to reconsider the new regulations and actively involve stakeholders in the decision-making process. He proposed a minimum of four aircraft for start-up airlines, highlighting that this would improve their chances of survival. Badamasi expressed concern that the NCAA's lack of consultation with stakeholders before implementing the regulations could lead operators to challenge them in the National Assembly.

Engr. Frank Oruye, an aviation stakeholder, placed the responsibility for the challenges faced by Nigerian airline operators on the operators themselves. He recommended a minimum of four aircraft for start-up airlines and criticized the industry for lacking collaborative efforts to build a more viable aviation sector. Oruye noted that African airlines could learn from European counterparts who pool resources and benefit from economies of scale.

On the other hand, Grp. Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd) viewed the new regulations positively, stating that they were a step in the right direction for the industry. Ojikutu suggested that airlines unable to meet the minimum requirement of six aircraft could opt for charter operations or form partnerships with other airlines. He asserted that such collaborations would minimize delays and cancellations.

The Director-General of Civil Aviation, Capt. Musa Nuhu, explained that the new regulations aimed to ensure airlines operate responsibly and effectively serve their clients. He cited the lack of financial capacity among many indigenous airlines as a reason for flight delays and cancellations. Nuhu highlighted that with a minimum of six aircraft, airlines would be better equipped to handle unexpected setbacks, reducing disruptions to passengers.

Nuhu also emphasized that the regulations applied not only to new entrants but also to existing airlines with Air Operator's Certificates (AOCs). While acknowledging the financial challenges faced by airlines, he asserted that compliance with the new rules was necessary to avoid recurring issues in the industry.

As the aviation industry continues to navigate these new regulations, discussions surrounding their implementation and potential amendments are ongoing. The opinions from industry players highlight the complex and multifaceted nature of the challenges faced by the Nigerian aviation sector.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-08 News

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