The Director-General Of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Huhu has stated categorically that nobody in the regulatory body can ground any airline without his authorization.
This is just as he disclosed that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP)on Nigeria’s aviation industry will be coming up in 2022.
The clarification is coming on the heels of the insinuations in some quarters alleging that airlines operators are afraid of the regulatory agency and that the grounding of airlines is done by senior officers in the agency instead of getting directives from the Director-General of NCAA.
He stated this today during an interactive session with members of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents(LAAC) at the agency’s Aviation House, Murtala Muhammed Airport(MMA), Lagos on the relationship between the regulatory body and the Airline Operators of Nigeria(AON).
According to him, “Nobody can ground any airline without the authorization of the Director-General of NCAA”
On the relationship between the NCAA and AON, the NCAA boss said, “We have the best relationship with airlines.”
He said that there are bound to be complaints if for example Nigeria has 50 or more airlines and one or two are complaining, adding that it cannot be ruled out and that it is normal.
He, however, said that the regulatory body was doing its best in terms of cordial relationship with airlines operators.
In his words, “If we have 50 or more airlines and one is complaining, it is normal ”
On the 2022 Audit and the country’s extent of preparedness, Nuhu said that the NCAA was working on it and that one of the things that must be done is the certification of airports.
Speaking on the accumulated debts owed to the NCAA, which is now referred to as legacy debts, the NCAA DG said that the first step was to stop the debts from growing by ensuring that airlines key into the automation process.
He further stated that NCAA was working with airline operators on the debts, adding that the regulatory body is aware that times are hard and that there was no way it could ask airlines to pay all the debts they owe.
“Reconciliation meetings with operators are ongoing on the legacy debts,” he said.
The DG stated that despite the COVID -19 outbreak, which ravaged the aviation industry globally, Nigeria’s aviation sector inclusive, more airlines are springing up and that besides, connectivity in the country has improved.
According to him, ” With the coming of more airlines, the connectivity of the country has improved. You can now travel from Asaba to Kano, you can connect from one city to the other. It is really amazing.”
Speaking on certification of airports, the NCAA boss informed that the Murtala Muhammed Airport(MMA), Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport (NAA), Abuja were certified a few years back and that they are presently undergoing re-certification, and that some progress has been made as it concerns the recertification process.
Besides, he hinted that Enugu, Kano, and Port Harcourt Airports are undergoing initial certification processes, adding that as soon as all the open items are closed, NCAA would certify the three airports in question.
According to him, “Lagos and Abuja were certified a few years ago, and presently, they are going through re-certification. There has been some progress. We have a few gaps that are to be closed. Some have been closed, others, we are in the process of closing them and new gaps have come. We are working closely with the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) to close the open items to ensure that the re-certification process is completed as soon as possible.”