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- 70 foreign registered aircraft, 46 active
- 23 carry Nigeria’s registered mark
The Director-General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu has admitted that there are some gaps in the system that allows proliferation of foreign registered aircraft operating in the country.
He however assured that that the issue would be solved after the review of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulation which is before the National Assembly and which becomes a law after it is passed into law.
Nuhu in an online question and answer with the Chairman, Africa Business Aviation Association, AfBAA, Mr. Nick Fadugba explained that there are 72 foreign registered aircraft operating in the country, far more than 23 carrying Nigeria’s registration number made up of Hawker Siddeley, AW139, Gulfstream G550, Falcon, Embraer, used for the spraying of farms, training, commercial services and other services provided in the General Aviation sector.
The NCAA chief disclosed that General Aviation about eight years ago expanded which he described as one of the fastest growing in the world, noting that growth in the sector had seriously dropped, regretting, “That is where we have found ourselves today”.
Before now, the NCAA used to process monthly over 200 business and private flight clearances but the number has drastically reduced.
The boom in the oil and gas industry led to a rapid growth of business aviation with many Nigerians acquiring jets to travel in leisure and in class, adding that the business took a plunge due to the economic situation that made owners convert to commercial ventures.
Wealthy Nigerians who hitherto bestrode the length and breadth of the country in their expensive and state-of-the-art multi-million dollar private jets have now converted them to hire and reward.
Hire and rewards entails putting small aircraft to commercial operation and that is done with the permission of the aviation regulatory body.
Nuhu further stated that out of the 70 the foreign registered airplanes, only about 46 are active as the rest have been taken out of the country and yet to come back.
His words, “We have more of foreign registered aircraft than Nigerian registered aircraft operating and we try to encourage the owners to de-register and register their aircraft in Nigeria’s registration number. We are getting there but it is at a slow rate”.
He speculated that the aircraft may begin to accept registering their airplanes in Nigeria if they see a more stable micro-economy and the need to have more confidence in the regulatory function and other measures that can make them deregister,, noting that they are making good progress in that regard.
He further stated that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation Part 188.8.131.52 allows the operation of foreign registered aircraft for a total of 12 months.
“It is for an initial six months and renewable for another six months. I must say a lot of operators have found their ways around it. They take the aircraft out of the country and begin the process of returning them again to the country as a new 12 months validation”.
Asked what he is doing to counter the nefarious act, Nuhu said, “Right now, the civil aviation Act under review and with the National Assembly. When that is completed and signed into law by the President, we tend to review some of our regulations and develop some specific regulations as regards that. These are some of the issues we intend to look into”.
“There are some gaps in the system. We have noticed that. Once we review the regulations; it is going to be a two-prong approach. We would like to develop a new regulatory regime for General Aviation to encourage General Aviation so that people will feel comfortable to come and change their aircraft registration to Nigeria’s”.
For direct and direct employment generation through General Aviation, Nuhu said there is not much growth in the sector compared with the airline sector.
“It is not well developed like the airline sector. We estimate that General Aviation has 15, 000 employees compared to projected 241, 000 employed directly or indirectly as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated for the aviation industry in Nigeria”.
Nigeria he admitted, is lagging behind countries like Kenya and South Africa in the area of General Aviation, adding that those two countries have a very robust aviation sector which has rubbed off on their General Aviation.Google+