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Airworthiness needs urgent total overhaul ― TAL

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An urgent call has been made to the federal government to totally overhaul the directorate of the airworthiness department of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) following accusations of unprofessional ethics.

Making this call yesterday, the Accountable Manager of Tropical Arctic Logistics, a Lagos based non-scheduled domestic airline, Mr Olufemi Adeniji while accusing the directorate of arbitrariness and corrupt practices, cited how some officials at the directorate hid documents that would assist the airlines in seeking renewal of its operational document.

Equally the TAL Chief revealed how the NCAA officials connived with NHV, a Danish operator, to ensure that its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) was not renewed.

Reacting, the director-general of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, said that AOC application in NCAA was not processed by one person and therefore, no single individual with the exception of the DG can prevent anyone from getting it.

The DG declared that other airlines either had had their AOC’s renewed or extended but that TAL didn’t meet all the safety requirements needed to get an extension or a renewal, insisting that the agency was not partial in carrying out its responsibilities

According to the DG; “NCAA has no reason whatsoever to refuse the renewal of anybody’s application. TAL does not meet the requirements for the renewal of its AOC and its AOC will not be renewed until they meet all the regulatory requirements, simple nothing more, nothing less.

When they meet the requirements TAL who is an operator, NCAA is the regulator and NCAA is the one that issues the certificate and NCAA is the one that is in the position to determine if TAL has largely met the requirements for AOC, the operator cannot determine for himself, we are the regulator and when they meet the regulator requirements they are certified and their AOC is issued.

“Godwin Balang is in the centre of this issue, they alleged he is corrupt It is unfortunate if he has any evidence against any of my staff he does not bring the evidence, he goes to the press and starts shouting all over it is sad and unfortunate, if he has any evidence let him bring it and I will treat the case appropriately.

“He alleged that this didn’t just start today that it has been on even the operators are scared of even talking but now it is getting out of hand.

“Which airline operator, is it all the airline operators in Nigeria? Most of them renewed their AOC’s within the last year, some were delayed but we have them extension due to the COVID-19 shutdown. Have you had any airline operator complaining, we refused to renew their AOC?

“Let him talk, let him bring the evidence, you can’t go to the market and start yelling throwing false accusations and there is no evidence, let him bring evidence and let him speak for himself.

“If he has evidence of the accusations he is making about one of my staff who has absolutely nothing to do with the renewal of TAL’s AOC, AOC is renewed by a team, it is a team it is not an individual.

“Engr Balang is not a member of that TAL AOC renewal team so, how can he stop it, I don’t understand, Engr. Balang has absolutely nothing to do with TAL and no sine individual in NCAA can or is able to stop even the process of any airline only the DG on his own even the DG I must have valid reasons to stop that, I can’t just stop it because I don’t like your face or have a disagreement with you I must have legitimate and valid reasons to stop it, no other individual in the system, AOC process we know is done by a team.”

But Adeniji at the media briefing queried: “Why is the regulator (NCAA) supporting a foreign company to bring a Nigerian company down. Is this the ease of doing business in Nigeria?” Adeniji declared.

Adeniji had at an aviation seminar in Lagos two weeks ago lamented how some officials in the aviation agencies often frustrate investors due to corruption.

He cited how officials at the regulatory body had kept his airline on the ground for over one year by refusing to renew or extend its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) over flimsy reasons.

According to him, keeping the company on the ground has made it lose a whopping $7 million with its key officers forced to resign.

While calling on the NCAA Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu, to investigate in particular the suspicious activities of the General Manager of the airworthiness directorate which he said was rubbishing the good work of the authority, Adeniji lamented how the initial document that will the company submitted to the directorate for the processing of its AOC renewal was declared missing by officials at the directorate only for the same documents to resurface after the airline had been made to reproduce fresh copies just to frustrate the airline.

The TAL officer raised alarm over how the conflict of interest plays out when some officials of the NCAA airworthiness directorate discharge their duties.

He attributed reasons for speaking to the media to the earlier position of the NCAA DG on why the regulatory body refused to renew TAL AOC.

“I sincerely respect and support the DG considering his international experience but I would advise him to pull back a little to get the facts of the TAL AOC renewal issue before his further response.”

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Airworthiness needs urgent total overhaul  Airworthiness needs urgent total overhaul

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