The spokesman for aviation agencies, Mr. Yakubu Dati has debunked the allegation that Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) were issued to persons connected to the government.
Speaking at the weekend in Lagos, Dati who was reacting to a statement credited to the former DC-10 pilot with the defunct Nigeria Airways, Capt. Dan Omale said the document was given to only persons or organisations that met the stringent standard requirements.
“Aviation is not an industry you just gate-crash because of its capital-intensive nature and stringent safety and security requirement. So, even if you are a so-called ‘loyalist’, and you do not have substantive capital base, you cannot make headway in the aviation industry.
“Moreover, records show that in the past three years, not more than five local companies were issued new AOCs. The aviation industry here is a small one, such that the players know one another,” he said.
He said that some charter operators were in the habit of collecting foreign registered aircraft with foreign crew and defrauding them (aircraft owners) in the process.
He said on some occasions, the ministry of aviation had to wade in to save the reputation of the federal government and the Nigerian aviation industry.
To save the country from further embarrassment, he said the ministry of aviation issued a directive that all foreign registered aircraft operating in the country’s airspace should re-register with the NCAA adding that many a charter operator was not comfortable with such policy.
He alleged that some persons who had been benefitting from skewed system “have resorted to paranoid self-serving media attacks because they have not been allowed to operate foreign registered aircraft illegally in Nigeria.”
“They just refused to submit to the five steps of obtaining AOC.This was the old order in civil aviation where aircraft from other jurisdictions were brought to the country and started operating. The clampdown by NCAA on these risky and illegal activities made them unleash attacks on those they believe stopped their illicit activities. In aviation, most criticisms are motivated by self-interest, not to reposition the sector for better performance.
Dati also refuted the claim that three directors-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) were changed within a period of three years.