The Federal Government’s ban on over 22-year-old aircraft from operating in Nigeria is outdated and premature.
This was disclosed by Captain Ibrahim Mshelia, Chairman, West Link Airlines, and owner of Mish Aviation, the foremost privately-owned aviation training school located in Ghana, in an interview.
He explained that the airworthiness of an aircraft should not be based on age, but on whether it meets the certification requirements for Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A).
He said, “It’s not scientifically correct to restrict importation on age and we have said this times without number. Today a professional colleague is a minister; we hope these are some of the things he will reverse before he leaves. The initial 22 years ban were best left as politically motivated for reasons that no longer exist, so why is it still there?
To give a 22-year life sentence for Nigerian registration is premature. I call on the federal government to please remove that from the laws so NCAA can do their job. That’s for NCAA actually to determine and not the ministry and/or National Assembly.”
How to curb airfare hike
Mshelia attributed the recent hike in airfare across Nigeria to three factors: general aviation, ease of doing business processes, and lack of more competition in the sector.
He said, “That’s the most civil solution. If I have an airline flying for less, I will choose that cheaper one. But when there seem to be a gang-up between the few available, then they can do what they want. You also cannot stop them.
It’s a matter of choice and when a provider chooses to exploit or take advantage, then the client can choose to use alternatives available or cancel.
More airlines are coming on stream; this will mitigate this problem. In defence of the airlines, there are many factors that affect ticket pricing in Nigeria. Aviation does not enjoy oil money anymore.”