Finally, Nigeria Air to Get Operating Licence Today

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The proposed national carrier for Nigeria, Nigeria Air will receive its Air Transport Licence (ATL) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) today in preparation for it to start operation after it has obtained its Air Operator Certificate, (AOC).

The licence would be presented to the interim management of the airline at the headquarters of the aviation regulatory body in Abuja.

This was made known on the Instagram handle of the Ministry of Aviation @fmaviationng which read: “The @NigerianCAA will on Monday, June 6th, 2022 present the Air Transport License (ATL) to the interim management of the #NigeriaAir, Nigeria’s national carrier at the NCAA’s Corporate headquarters, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.”

The ATL is issued as authorisation to airlines to provide scheduled and non-scheduled services. It is one of the licenses received by airlines before they can commence operation just as they await the AOC that fully guarantees them the right to begin air services.

Nigeria Air Limited had in April 2022 applied to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for a licence to operate scheduled and non-scheduled passenger and cargo services.

The company had disclosed this in a public notice as part of the requirements for granting an AOL.

The notice stated that any person or organisation with objection should make it known before 28 days expire.

“This is to inform the general public that Messrs Nigeria Air Limited has applied to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for the grant of an Air Transport License to operate scheduled and non-scheduled passenger and cargo services within and outside Nigeria,” the notice read.

Director-general of NCAA said the promoters of Nigeria Air have applied for AOC and that the process was still ongoing.

Nuhu said he has no assurances yet on when the license would be issued because, like all other airlines that had applied for AOC, there are some issues that are not completely under the purview of the NCAA such as seeking security clearance for the applicant.

Nigeria Air had been expected to start operation since it was identified as one of the major projects of the President Mohammadu Buhari administration in the aviation industry.

Sirika had promised that the airline would start operation in June/July. 2022 and the obtaining of ATL is a positive step to actualising that objective.

The Ministry of Aviation recently reiterated that the airline would be driven by the private sector but it is the responsibility of the government to midiwife the national carrier but would only have 5 per cent stake in the company, the technical partner would have about 49 per cent, while the rest would be acquired by local investors.

However, industry analyst and former Commandant of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos (MMIA), Group Captain John Ojikutu (retd) expressed doubt about the planned national carrier.

He said his worry was that it might go the same way like the defunct Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL), saying there was nothing being done differently from the way the former national carrier was run.

“My fear about the national carrier is that it will go the same way as Nigeria Airways. I am not in support of it. How many African countries have national carrier now? South African Airways, Kenya Airways which are national carriers are having problems. It is only Ethiopian Airlines that is doing very well, but other national airlines are not doing well. Ghana, Congo, Cameroon don’t have national carrier, but they had in the past. If you say that the private sector will have 95 per cent, why not put the bidding out so that the private sector will drive it? Why are you midwifing it?” he said.

Also the President, Sabre Network West Africa, Dr. Gabriel Olowo, said it was only the Minister of Aviation and his team who could correctly tell if the airline was ready to take off as planned.

Olowo who is also the President, Aviation Round Table (ART) also noted that national carrier for any country was no longer in vogue, describing it as a “mere nomenclature.”

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