Local airlines can do better – NCAA DG
The Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Mukhtar Usman, has said Nigerian airlines need to improve their corporate governance to enable them sustain and remain in the business for a long haul.
Speaking with our correspondent during the inaugural flight of pilgrims by Med-View Airline from the Kaduna International Airport and the landing of Ethiopian Airline in Kaduna from Addis Ababa, Usman also debunked the insinuation that the civil aviation authority was being too harsh on domestic carriers.
He defended the recent fine of N35.5m imposed on First Nation Airways, stressing that the sanction was in compliance with the provision of the Civil Aviation Regulations.
He said the intention was not punitive but to enforce compliance with the standard and recommended practices laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
There have been murmurs within the industry over the harsh operating environment which had triggered the grounding of many airlines while the government has equally been blamed for allegedly stifling the operations of domestic carriers and promoting their foreign counterparts.
However, the DG dismissed the insinuation, saying the civil aviation authority had been trying as much as possible to assist the local carriers; especially in the allocation of international frequencies in line with the provision of Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASAs).
Usman stressed that it would be unfair to accuse NCAA of stifling the operations of domestic carriers, even as he urged airline operators to feel free to complain to the authority if they had difficulties flying into other countries which had airlines operating in Nigeria.
The DG further said: “We can only come to the aid of airline operators if there is a complaint, and all the complaints that we have, the few that we have received, we are attending to them.
“When they have a problem, instead of referring it to us, they try to take it up themselves and it is only when they have real difficulties that they go out and talk. The main thing is that before they even commence operations, they should let us know, and anytime they have problems, they should complain to us.