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Nigeria: Experts call for increase in flight size requirement before issuance of AOC

Aviation industry experts have urged the Federal Government to enforce a law requiring domestic airlines to have a minimum fleet size of 20 aircrafts before are given an Air Operators’ Certificate.

The experts said that this would bolster operations and help entice more foreign investment. The proposal was made in a communiqué that was given at the conclusion of the Aviation Roundtable.

“We urgently call for regulatory consolidation process that increases the minimum fleet for AOC issuance for scheduled passenger airline operations from two aircraft to 20 aircraft.

“For Nigerian airlines to attract funding facilities from financiers and institutions that are predominantly based outside Nigeria, our airlines must be within these parameters: viability, capacity and the potential to earn more revenue from commercial agreements in view of the weakness of the local currency,” read the communiqué.

The group also expressed the need for local carriers to pool their resources and create a local maintenance hangar that they hope would lower their maintenance expenses, and collaborate with the government to tackle the issue of human capital development in the country.

“Human capital deficiency in the industry needs to be rapidly addressed by establishing human capital development plans, succession planning and mentoring program across the industry and organizations, with huge investments. We should deepen training in commercial, marketing and financial analysis, which are the bedrock of profitability in the industry,” the group said in the same communiqué.

The group also called for the development of a culture of corporate governance and transparency in the business of handling the aviation sector, such that government and other sectors in infrastructure-related commercial pacts in the industry should respect the terms of such agreements if the industry is to progress.

It called for speedy conclusion of current concession agreements that had been smeared in controversies impacting the entire industry by taking cognizance of the initial capital invested.

“Also, political interference should be avoided in the industry’s regulatory activities. There is a need for the establishment of an inter-governmental agency stakeholders’ group led by the regulator for the administration and management of aviation development plans. Additionally, there should be an aviation projects implementation stakeholders’ team in every airport,” said the experts.

The same group also asked the Federal Government to mind to Bilateral Air Service Agreements, Multilateral Air Service Agreements and international routes as well as air traffic rights to aid in the growth of domestic airlines.

“BASA funds should be used for critical safety infrastructure development as provided for in the Civil Aviation Act, 2006,” the group added.

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