Dapo Olumide, interim managing director of Nigeria Air, says the processes involved in obtaining an air operator’s certificate (AOC), are delaying the commencement of flight operations.
On Monday, the country’s proposed national carrier received an air transport licence (ATL) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The ATL is issued as authorisation to airlines to provide scheduled and non-scheduled services.
It is also one of the licences received by airlines before they can commence operation, while they wait for the AOC that fully guarantees them the right to begin air services.
Speaking in an interview with ThePunch on Wednesday, Olumide said his team members are working to ensure that requirements to obtain an AOC from the NCAA are met.
“There is a process. There’s no magic wand. There is a process to issuing an AOC. And when you have an AOC and an ATL you can commence commercial scheduled operations,” he said.
“The date is largely based on the process that we are following to gain the AOC. It is not something that can be issued because they like my face, it is a process that you have to go through the five steps and you have to go through all of them.
“We are working around the clock, which is why the other team members setting up this airline are not here because they are working hard for us to meet those requirements.
“These are very stringent requirements, which is why the ATL that we just received took this long to be issued, because there are processes to go through. No magic wand. And we are going through the same thing with the AOC and when we have that certificate, we will commence operations.”
Lamenting difficulties in acquiring aircraft for the airline, the Nigeria Air interim boss said there are ongoing discussions with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
“It takes time to bring an aircraft out of storage and there is a further complication, as you’ve seen in the media, with a lot of flights in Europe and America being cancelled or delayed. And this is because most people were laid off during COVID and they don’t have enough staff in the airports to turn around flights. So, there’s a lot of cancellations going on,” Olumide said.
“So, it’s very difficult to get aircraft. But we have discussions going on with the OEMs and we are just waiting for the terms of the agreement.
“We already have the aircraft identified because that is one of the requirements for the NCAA, but we are just trying to perfect titles and so on. So that’s where we are with the aircraft as its sourcing is still in process and we are looking at that.”