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Airline operator accuses NCAA of sabotage over refusal to renew AOC

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Abiola Seun

Tropical Arctic Logistics (TAL), a Lagos-based non-scheduled domestic airline has said that the renewal of Air Operators Certificate (AOC), by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), fall short of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO’s), standard.

This was disclosed by the Chief Operating Officer, TAL, Olufemi Adeniji against the backdrop of the controversy surrounding the non renewal of the company’s AOC by the NCAA.

Recall that TAL has alleged that a staff of NCAA had connived with NHV, a Danish operator, to ensure that its AOC was not renewed.

The non-renewal of TAL’s AOC, according to the operator, has led to its operations been grounded and causing it to lose over $7 million following its closure.

Though, the airline had said it met all the requirements for its AOC renewal, NCAA still declined its request.

However, speaking to select few journalists yesterday, Adeniji said despite applying for the AOC, 47 days instead of the NCAA’s standard of 30 days before expiration, the Authority still refused to honour her request.

He, however, wondered whether renewal of AOC should be tedious than first approval.

He said, “AOC renewal issues are not peculiar to TAL but most of the operators. TAL with its integrity has decided to address the issues which would also help in cleansing of the NCAA’s departments and their relationship with the operators.

“TAL has decided to follow the due process no matter how long it takes without compromising. However, in life there is a limit to every patience especially when it pertains to corruption which becomes a threat to one’s investment.

” TAL has reached its limit and it has decided to suspend its actions in following through with AOC renewal despite concluding on the phase 3 of the so called renewal process.
“The renewal process in Nigeria does not align with the international practice although it is supposed to be same ICAO procedure.”

“TAL applied for the renewal of its AOC on 7th September 2020, fortySeven (47) days before expiration of its AOC when 30 days is required to do this in accordance with Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations Part 9 (9.1.1.8) with all post holders completed as per 9.2.2.4.

“Eduardo Ramos Maintenance Manager, Jose Mendez Maintenance Manager, Engr. Danjuma Hangar Maintenance Manager, Capt Olisa Chika, Chief Pilot, Capt Oladeji Folayan Quality Safety Manager.

The TAL boss, however, accused the NCAA of frustrating the process of renewing the company’s AOC through misplacing vital document submitted to the authority.

“Indeed, there is abundant evidence that all manuals were submitted and some resubmitted with amendments as it was said that some were lost by the NCAA airworthiness department, MCM, AMP, MEL after 7 months of submission. It is on record that futile attempts were made to heap the blame on COVID-19.

“New manuals were however reprinted and resubmitted. Surprisingly, the lost manuals were later found. For your information, TAL helped to review these manuals using the NCAA checklist as requested by the officials to help avert any delay.

“Even with this and having been complied with, the AOC renewal was still delayed by the Airworthiness Department of NCAA. Consequently, operation has been grounded due to unusual delay in processing the AOC to date.
“TAL then decided to apply for an extension of its AOC in a letter dated 16th December, 2020 to avoid total grounding of its operation.
“This again was denied for reasons best known to the authority despite TAL’s possession of a complete post holder management.
“Up to date, TAL has the MCM (Printed twice) and the AMP (Printed 3 times) in the Airworthiness Department which claimed that its refusal to approve the manuals was based on the post holders in the manuals submitted in September 2020.
“The issue of manuals going back and forth with NCAA is not unusual but it is unusual to come back claiming manuals are missing and later found after the new ones have been approved,” he said.

“Indeed, i have never seen a situation where initial certification is the same process as renewal when you already have the company information and any change in the company information is effected and updated through amendment process during the course of your operation. TAL operated for two years without any incident, accident or mishap and near miss.”

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