By Chinedu Eze
The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has called on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to simplify the issuance of licenses to pilots, cabin crew members as well as other critical operational staff in the aviation sector by digitalising the process.
AON, however, commended the regulatory agency for granting an extension in validity of licenses of air crew and other critical operational staff in its response to the Covid-19 virus pandemic, which had disrupted activities globally.
A letter signed by Chairman of AON, Capt. Nogie Meggison, titled, “Letter of Appreciation for Extension of Licence Validity,” stated that digitalising the process would be in tandem with modern day trend.
The body also appealed to the NCAA to give priorities to the backlogs of licenses before it once full operations resumed after the present lockdown of activities in the country.
“We would like to thank you for extending this approval to all airlines and we commend you for simplifying processes within the authority. Furthermore, with regards to the suspension in processing of new certificates and licences, we understand the need for the authority to scale down its manpower in line with the skeletal operations of other CAA worldwide as verification and coordination have proven difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to maintain social distancing.
“On return to full operations, we kindly appeal that you give priorities to the backlogs and also simplify by digitalising the processes for approval to modern day technology. We acknowledge the proactive changes you are bringing into the CAA and we hope this will be sustained during your tenure,” it added.
The NCAA had last week issued a circular indicating that it had suspended the issuance and processing of Air Operator’s Certificate, (AOC) and other related certificates as a result of the increasing spread of COVID-19. In a letter dated April 1, signed by the Director General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu and issued to stakeholders, the authority stated that inspections and audits paid for by clients were suspended until the 30th of June, 2020.
The authority further stated that no applications or ongoing applications would be processed during this period for AOC, Approved Maintenance Organisations (AMO), Aircraft Type Certificate Acceptance, Aircraft Registration, and Related Matters, Modifications and Repairs, Airworthiness Certificates, Maintenance Clearance Certificates (MCC), amongst others.
The letter further stated that all existing operators intending to renew their approval certificates and Aircraft Maintenance Clearance Certificates during this period must submit applications and proof of payment electronically to the relevant officials, adding that NCAA would conduct desktop evaluations of the document and request additional evidence or documents where necessary.
The letter further stated that no applications for extensions of maintenance intervals would be considered during this period except for essential and emergency flights approved by Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation