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National Carrier to Commence Operations December—NCAA Confirms

By Dipo Olowookere

All things being equal, the much-awaited national carrier will begin operations in Nigeria by December 2018.

Addressing newsmen on Tuesday, Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Usman Muhtar, said federal government was making sure no stone was left unturned.

He informed journalists in Lagos yesterday that government was learning from the mistakes of others to come up with a perfect arrangement.

Mr Muhtar said once the operator meets the necessary requirements, the process of getting an Aircraft Operators Certificate won’t be an issue as it takes only 90 days to obtain the certificate.

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The aviation expert emphasised that the major thing for now was to ensure the national carrier follows guidelines and meet international standards.

“The NCAA guides operators when it comes to documentation and preparation of the manual, which we produce.

“If there are errors or corrections, the NCAA works to see that everything comes out clean. All these we did with all other airlines. So, it is usual that you find us in that task force,” he said.

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“We have been told to ensure that even before commencement, nothing is short-circuited and that the right process is followed,” Mr Muktar added.

While commenting on insinuations that government was planning to have full control of the national carrier, the NCAA chief said federal government was not “midwifing it in the real sense of the national carrier, but it is guiding the process to ensure that it is done in line with international standards and best practices in the area of safety, security and also comfort of passengers.”

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Before now, the Africa’s biggest market operated a national carrier, Nigeria Airways, but it was liquidated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in September 2004 because he said the company was mismanaged.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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