Monday, September 30, 2013

■ NIGERIA: New law banning wet-leases for longer than 6 months comes into effect from October 1.

NCAAThe Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority's (NCAA) decree that no Nigerian carrier, whether scheduled or charter, will be able to wet-lease foreign aircraft for the purposes of commercial operations for periods longer than six months is set to come into effect from October 1.

BusinessNews Nigeria reports that the development is part of the Federal Government’s move to reform the aviation sector after it became alarmed at the number of foreign-registered aircraft being for wet-leased (i.e the contract involves the aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance) for commercial operations in the country. 
Pursuant to sections 30 (5) and 30 (7a) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority hereby makes the following order: 1. Wet-lease-in aircraft into Nigeria: No Air Operator Certificate holder shall wet-lease-in an aircraft into Nigeria for the purpose of commercial air transportation for a total period of more than six months. 2. Effective date: This order shall take effect from October 1, 2013 and all AOC holders shall comply there from.
Among the airlines affected that have made tentative moves to conform with the directive are Arik Air (W3) whose two A340-500s on lease from Hi-Fly Portugal, (MCN 910 | CS-TFW) & (MCN 912 | CS-TFX), are to be reregistered in Nigeria as 5N-JIB and 5N-JIA respectively.

Meanwhile, the General Manager for Chanchangi Airlines (5N), Mohammed Tukur, says Abuja's decision to levy a USD3'000 charge per flight on locally registered private jets and USD4'000 per flight for foreign-registered jets would be detrimental to the industry's development with some operators tempted to transfer their operations to Ghana. 
Some people think this industry must be destroyed at all cost and this will negatively affect job creation as these airlines may decide to close shop and move their operations to Ghana where the charges are not only moderate but reasonable.

When it comes to this, everybody is involved. Aero, Arik, Chanchangi, IRS, Dana are involved. You have to make aviation conducive so that there would be job creation. This is no longer the transformation that the industry yearns for, but one that could cripple the sector. I am sure the NCAA must have been forced to take this type of draconian retrogressive policy that takes us nowhere.
Earlier this year, the country introduced legislature in its National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) 2013 which  sanctioned jet owners permitting friends and business associates aboard their private aircraft.

With the largest biz-jet market in Africa valued at USD3.75billion, about 150 private jets currently operate in the country and are owned by Nigerians.