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Lawmakers, Union ‘clash’ over Air Operators Certificate

National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has frowned at the National Assembly’s directive to suspend the issuance of the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) to a new airline in the country.

NAAPE describes the directive by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation as undermining the autonomy of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

Just 2 weeks ago, the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals and the National Union of Pensioners in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) branch petitioned the House Committee on Aviation over N19 billion debts owed by Arik Air.

The unions say the airline to be transformed to a new airline called Nigeria Eagle (NG Eagle) is to be floated by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria.

At a news conference in Lagos, NAAPE appealed to the Committee to thread with caution as such political interference in the regulatory functions of the NCAA would have catastrophic consequences on the industry.

President of NAAPE, Mr. Abednego Galadinma said, the NCAA was empowered to regulate aviation in Nigeria without political interference, adding that, the contention on whether the NCAA should give NG Eagle an AOC or not was unnecessary and uncalled for.

Mr. Galadinma declared that NAAPE was in full support of AMCOM’s initiative to float an airline as it would further guarantee jobs for its members and create more opportunities for the teeming unemployed pilots and engineers, thereby NCAA to go ahead with the issuance of the AOC.

NAAPE President also issued a 3 weeks ultimatum to the NCAA to address grey areas in the conditions of service for safety inspectors in the agency explaining that at the failure to address the issue, the services of its members would be withdrawn especially at the pre-activities of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) forthcoming audit.

“The poor remuneration and working conditions of the inspectors poses serious threats on safety as there is a dearth of qualified inspectors to carry out safety oversight on operators”.

Reporting by Nosa Aituamen; editing by Muzha Kucha