The interim management of Nigeria Air has blamed the inability of the proposed new airline to take delivery of any aircraft required for its operations on COVID-19.
Speaking at the headquarters of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) after receiving an Air Transport Licence (ATL) for Nigeria Air, the Chief Executive of the airline’s management, Capt. Dapo Olumide, categorically stated that “it is very difficult to get the aircraft,” attributing this to the effect of COVID-19 on the aviation sector globally, among other factors.
Olumide, who received the licence on behalf of the proposed new airline, however, stated that efforts were ongoing to get all the aircraft, as this was a basic requirement by the NCAA before the issuance of another vital certificate.
BizWatch Nigeria reported that the civil aviation regulator would present an ATL to the interim management of Nigeria Air in Abuja.
The ATL with the number NCAA/ATR1/ATL214, which was presented to the airline, was signed by the Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, and would run for a period of five years from June 3, 2022, to June 2, 2027.
An Air Transport Licence is issued as authorisation to airlines to provide scheduled and non-scheduled services.
It is one of the licences received by airlines before they can commence operations just as they await the all-important Air Operator Certificate that fully guarantees them the right to begin air services.
Since then, there had been several efforts and promises by the Federal Government to get the airline functional, as the airline’s boss insisted on Monday that the national carrier was making progress, based on the presentation of an ATL to the airline by the NCAA.
However, in his response to an enquiry on the airplanes needed for airline’s operations, Olumide stated that it had been tough to get them.
He said, “The aircraft are available but there are all sorts of issues because this is summer peak period. And as you know, post-COVID, all the aircraft were parked in the desert. The airlines are bringing them out slowly. It takes time to bring an aircraft out of storage.
“And there is a further complication, a lot of flights in Europe are being cancelled or delayed because most people were laid off during the COVID and they don’t have enough staff in the airports to turn around flights. So there are lots of cancellations going on.
“So it is very difficult to get the aircraft but we have discussions going on with Original Equipment Manufacturers and we are just waiting for the right 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.”
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