The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says from 150 airlines in its register when it started operating in 2000, only eight or nine airlines are operating in the country as of now.
Sam Adurogboye, NCAA’s general manager, public relations, said this during an interactive session with reporters in Lagos on Sunday.
He said the agency was not responsible for the problems being encountered by some domestic airlines, and dismissed the claim that the agency was pushing airlines out of business through multiple charges and levies.
“When the NCAA started on January 1, 2000, it had about 150 airlines on its register,” he said.
“By 2006, they had reduced to 28 from 150, so what happened to the rest? They all went under because the NCAA had started regulating their operations.
“At the moment, we only have between eight airlines and nine airlines. If we didn’t regulate those airlines that went under, they would have been dropping from the sky by now.
“In addition, it was because we did what we needed to do those airlines that were to collapse had to, naturally, do so.”
Adurogboye added that there was no way the NCAA could prevent any airline from going under because it was not in the place of the agency to run airlines for the owners.
“This is also against the rules and regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),” he said.
“We don’t run airlines for the owners or write feasibility studies for them.
“When an airline wants to start business, it expresses an interest by sending an application of expression of interest to the NCAA.
“The airline will have to demonstrate the capability of running a smooth operation.
“This is done by acquiring the plane, paying the necessary fees, employing the staff and the liquidity to back it up.
“The necessary security checks are conducted here and abroad while the source of the airline fund will also be established.
“However, once an airline commences operation, the laws are so clear. If an airline is not able to fulfill safe operations as the operations continue, naturally, such an airline will find its way out of the business.”
Adurogboye blamed the difficulty experienced by any airline on lack of good corporate governance and use of right equipment, saying if these two factors were put in place, they would yield prosperity in the airline business.
“When you run an airline, you must use the right equipment for the right operation. Your insurance and maintenance must be on schedule,” he said.
“Corporate governance is an issue in this country. It is not the number of aircraft you have.
“It doesn’t matter if it is a brand new. It is not whether you have all the money in the bank; it is determined by the way you run your business.
“Hence, it is not within the purview of the NCAA to run the airline.
“It is within the purview of investors to recruit the right personnel to do the job; and of course once it is done, you will definitely be prosperous in the airline business.
“As we speak now, there are airlines running domestic operations that the NCAA sends recommendation letters to for doing the right thing.
“There are airlines that pick their bills with the agencies as and when due without default. We have about three or four of them but I don’t want to mention names.
“I am saying this to let the public know that there are still few airlines that are doing the right thing by running the business in the way it supposed to be run and such airlines will make profit.
“More importantly, an investor needs to know himself if it is what he has passion for. He needs to know the problems he wants to solve. So you don’t just go into business because others are making money from it.”
On the issue of multiple charges, the spokesman said the five percent ticket sales charge/cargo sales charge (TSC/CSC) were monies collected by the airlines from passengers on behalf of the aviation agencies.
He said after collecting the money, some airlines still find it difficult to remit same to the agencies.
Adurogboye also disclosed that the federal government had extended the deadline given to airlines operating in the country to automate their remittance/payment systems to aviation agencies to March 31.
He explained that the automation system was being introduced to ensure transparency, accurate billing and prompt payments of charges due to the NCAA from airlines.