Nigeria risks US, Europe airspace ban over Nigeria Air – AON

NIGERIA risks a ban from the airspace of the United States and European countries if the five-phase certification process of obtaining an operating licence for the national carrier, Nigeria Air, is not followed, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has warned.

The group gave the warning in a statement by its spokesperson, Obiora Okonkwo, on Sunday, May 28, and accused the outgoing minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, of pushing to commence Nigeria Air’s operation without undergoing the process to obtain the Air Operators Certificate (AOC).

The AON, a critical stakeholder in the Nigerian aviation industry, stressed that should Nigeria Air be issued the AOC certificate through the back door to hasten its operation, international aviation safety agencies like the US FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) could blacklist Nigeria.

The group maintained that failure to complete the five-phase certification process is considered a serious infraction by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

While the five-phase process involves pre-application, formal application, document evaluation, demonstration and inspection, and certification, AOC is a safety certificate issued by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to an airline that has demonstrated its fitness to conduct safe flight operations through the five-phase certification process.

AON had faulted the handling of Nigeria Air and sued the minister over the controversies surrounding the project.

But on Friday, May 26, the minister received an aircraft branded Nigeria Air at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, The ICIR reported.

The branded aircraft is one of the 30 aeroplanes expected to form the fleet of Nigeria Air in the next five years.

According to the AON, further implications of not following due process by Nigeria Air include that airlines of those countries would not enter Nigeria, and Nigerian airlines would not be allowed to operate in those countries.

“It also means that Nigeria will definitely fail the upcoming ICAO audit and, by way of further penalty, lose its FAA CAT-1 Certification.

“Nigerian airlines will also not be able to lease aircraft to boost their operations because no lessor will trust the safety certification process of the NCAA,” AON stressed.




     

     

    The NCAA has resisted the pressure from the minister to issue the AOC certificate to Nigeria Air without a standard process.

    “As indigenous operators, we are happy and grateful to the NCAA for saving us from this punishment by resisting the pressure from Minister Hadi Sirika to grant an AOC to Nigeria Air without going through the due process.

    “If tampered with, it will have negative expanded multiplier effect on all aspects of the economy and life of Nigeria,” the local operators stated.

    The group further queried the whereabouts of the promoters of Nigeria Air and why they were not speaking on behalf of the national carrier, considering it is private sector-led and not a government, wholly-owned initiative.

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    1 COMMENT

    1. The US and the European countries supported and embraced evil Buhari’s government and his shambolic election but now refused to accept his fraudulent airline safety certificates because of their safety? Whatever evil they sow in Africa, they will also reap.

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