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NCAA plans stringent regulations for airlines next year

In a bid to strengthen airlines and know their financial capabilities, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said its economic regulation function would be more robust as from next year. The Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, who was a panelist at the Aviation Leadership CEO’s Forum/Aviators Africa Tower Awards with theme, “Corporate Governance Structure: A pathway to sustainability in African Aviation,” lamented the lack of check and balances in the corporate gov-ernance of airlines and other organisations in the Nigerian aviation industry.

He described the situation as very detrimental to the growth of airlines in the country and aviation in general. Nuhu agreed that the management of an airline had a number of issues that could impact the running of the entity one of which he identified as corporate governance. Other crucial issues he identified include “separation of ownership from the day to day management of the airline business, for a lot of airlines in Nigeria, that is a very bloodline because there is no definite guidelines separating the owners of the airline from it management.”

Nuhu further stated that owner-manager syndrome was becoming a major problem in the nation’s aviation sector, stressing that there should be a long-term strategy to tackle the menace. His words: “I have seen a owner of an airline who went to the counter of an airline to ask how much was made with a view to collecting whatever sales that were made that day. There is nothing I have not seen in this industry.

Economic regulations will be more robust as from next year.” Not a few had accused the NCAA of laxity when it comes to the proper economic regulation of the sector, particularly airlines with virtually all of them lacking good corporate governance. On how to tackle these militating factors, the NCAA DG declared: “Once the civil aviation Act is passed by the National Assembly and we have a new mandate, we intend to look at that regulations also maybe with the Corporate Affairs Commission (we will sit down and see how we can apply some of these corporate governance issues in our regulations strictly and resolve some of these difficulties we have been facing.

“One of the things we are going to do is that the directorate of air transport regulations will be empowered and also enhanced to really study the business models and plans of airlines and see how effective they can be we can have a more positive regulatory function, we are doing it now but I believe we need to build more capacity in that department.” Convener of the event and Publisher of Aviators Africa Magazine, Mr. Toni Ukachukwu, stated that no significant achievement would be made unless there is good leadership which would in large measure lead to the implementation of good corporate governance of the sector. The Secretary-General of African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Abdrahmane Berthe lamented the unprofitability of the continent’s carriers because of the challenges they currently face. He disclosed that as at October 2021, a paltry three percent of the continent’s population had been vaccinated following the rise of air traffic to 59 percent of traffic following the outbreak of COVID-19 that seriously affected global air transport.

He reiterated the need for carriers in the continent to enhance cooperation and consolidation like codeshare, interline among others. Principal Managing Partner, Avaero Capital Partners, Sindy Foster, noted that aviation is a long-term, high-risk, capitalintensive industry that needs a long-term vision to meet objectives. “But long-term is something you walk towards in specific measurable steps every day. Vision needs to be strategically driven, and actionable. How will you know when you have got there if you have no plan?” He queried.

 

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