Nigeria Air, the embattled proposed national carrier, faces further hurdles as documents reveal that it has not advanced beyond Stage One of the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) process.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has informed the airline management that the tenure of its Post Holders letters of commitment has expired, raising concerns about the carrier’s progress. A letter addressed to the Managing Director of Nigeria Air, obtained by our media partners NigerianFlightDeck, sheds light on the situation.
The correspondence, titled “Re: Request to Proceed to Phase Two of AOC Certification,” dated June 2, 2023, highlights the absence of essential documents required for the second phase of the AOC process. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) emphasizes that the Certification Process cannot proceed without the necessary documents, including the Formal Application Form OPS 002, which was missing from the airline’s request.
The letter to Nigeria Air states, “The Authority is in receipt of your letter dated 25th May, 2023, on the above subject matter. Quite contrary to our earlier letter of 16th May, 2023, which enumerated the documents to be submitted with the Formal Application Form OPS 002, your letter of request to proceed to Phase Two has no inclusion of a Formal Application Form and the necessary documents referenced in the Formal Application Form.”
Furthermore, the letter informs Nigeria Air that the tenure of its Post Holders letters of commitment has expired, with a duration of three months. This development raises concerns about the airline’s ability to proceed with the AOC process without starting from scratch.
“The Certification Process cannot progress to Phase Two (2) without these required documents. Please be reminded that your Post Holders letters of commitment to Nigeria Air has a tenure of three (3) months and as such expires now. Accept the assurances of our highest regards,” the letter read.
In a related development, the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 registered as ET-APL, adorned with Nigeria Air’s livery, which was displayed statically in Abuja, has reportedly flown to various destinations, including Turkey and Mogadishu, Somalia according to various flight tracking sites. The Boeing is owned by Ethiopian Airlines and would be one of three leased aircraft with which Nigeria Air is scheduled to begin operations.
The airline should finally start on the fourth attempt and for a moment it looked as if it could work this time. Despite a legal battle, outgoing Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika proudly presented the first aircraft to the public at Abuja Airport on May 26.
Despite the ceremonial reception of the aircraft and the promising outlook, the airline’s journey continues to be marred by legal battles, uncertainties, and regulatory challenges.
Nigeria Air remains an ambitious project for the country, and its future now hinges on the decisions and actions of the relevant authorities, as well as the newly inaugurated government led by President Bola Tinubu. The aviation industry and stakeholders eagerly await further updates to determine the fate of Nigeria’s proposed national carrier.