NIGERIA: Only Functional Airlines Will Access Govt’s Palliatives- NCAA DG Reveals

As domestic airlines await government’s palliatives which was promised by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, it has been revealed that only functional airlines would access the fund when released.

Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, made the revelation on Wednesday at a virtual meeting with aviation Correspondents. He said all the airlines, both defunct and functional are free to apply for the fund but it is the policy of the Federal government to make it accessible to functional airlines.

He is also said that the  Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), the umbrella body of all domestic airlines, would not make the mistake of putting forward a defunct airline for the palliative.

“Any airline can apply, whether functioning or not but it is a policy that participating airlines must be functioning and with Air Operators Certificate. I also believe that the AON has its own rules and they know the criteria, I believe the AON will not put forward a non- functioning airline.”

Reports say N27 billion have been proposed as stimulus package for the aviation sector.

Speaking on Aeropolitics, Nuhu said the NCAA will do all in its powers to protect the airlines, saying however, that the airlines should always go through the regulatory authority whenever they are planning to launch into any foreign route.

“The airlines should always carry the NCAA, the Ministry of Aviation  and the Nigerian embassy in the country they are flying into along, we are here to help them grow, they should carry us along, it will be very helpful when the airlines carry the regulatory body along.”

“And when they have difficulties, they should complain to us , we will sit with them and guide them and even go with them, there must be fairness from both sides” , he said.

Speaking on the health status of the airlines, he said the situation in Nigeria is not dufferent from what is happening across the globe, adding that even the airlines that have received  millions of dollars in palliatives abroad are yet to get out of the woods.

“The financial health of airlines is not limited to Nigerian airlines, it is a global issue, especially due to the impact of COVID-19. We have seen airlines that have gotten millions of subsidies from their governments, yet they are having issues. Many airlines have sacked workers, BA, Emirates, Lufthansa sacked workers and are withdrawing some aircraft. It is a global thing. But government is working on the palliative ‘, he added.

On whether the NCAA autonomy is not being threatened, Nuhu said the regulatory body is still fully autonomous but it cannot isolate from the Ministry of Aviation.

” We cannot totally isolate ourselves from the Ministry but in terms of regulating, we are doing that without interference from the Ministry, but some things will be difficult to implement without political support from the Ministry.

“We implement our regulations irrespective of who is in the Ministry. All the agencies are under the Ministry, so we cannot operate in isolation, we have some relationship with Ministry, it is not realistic to divorce completely from the Ministry” , he added.

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