The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has reeled out fresh guidelines to local airlines over activities of Wet Lease Aircraft in the country.
The NCAA’s fresh guidelines were against the backdrop of a dramatic diversion of an Abuja-bound flight from Lagos to Asaba by the United Nigeria Airlines few days ago.
However, in a circular by the director general of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, to all airlines’ directors of Operations with reference number, NCAA/DGCA/AIR/11/16/347, titled, “Wet Lease Operations in Nigeria-Flight Crew Qualification,” dated November 28, 2023, the regulatory agency stated that while the Authority was investigating the United Nigeria Airlines incident to determine the root cause, it had taken some actions to curb the trend of the occurrences.
According to him, action taken included suspension of some of the wet-leased operations connected to the recent incidents.
Capt. Nuhu, in the letter to the airlines, said preliminary assessment by the Authority in the case of a diverted flight to Asaba instead of Abuja by the United Nigeria Airlines flight had shown that Sunday occurrence was lack of familiarity with the operational environment by the wet-leased aircraft crew.
Nuhu lamented that the Authority observed that some Nigerian Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders may not have been providing adequate guidelines and supervision over the lessors.
Aside from that, he disclosed that the NCAA equally observed that wet lease arrangements were made at short notice by the Nigerian AOC holders without adequate time allocation to train and familiarise the lessors’ flight crew with the AOC operations specifications, routes, aerodromes, terrains, and operations in the Nigerian airspace including weather as the operational requirements of Nig.CARs 18.104.22.168.
Based on this, the NCAA, according to its Director-General, reminded all AOC holders involved in wet-lease operations that it is their duty and responsibility to ensure the lessors’ flight crew are made familiar with the lessee’s operations within Nigeria including their operations specifications, routes, aerodromes, and company’s indoctrination.
“All AOC holders involved in wet-lease operations are hereby required to ensure the lessor’s flight crew are properly trained and acquainted with the AOC holder’s operational requirements in Nigeria including their Ops Specs, routes, aerodrome including CNS facilities, and company indoctrination”.
“They should ensure no foreign wet-leased aircraft crew are allowed to conduct commercial flight operations to an aerodrome unless they have previously flown there under the supervision of the AOC holder (Lessee). All AOC holders in wet-leased operations are hereby required to provide proof of compliance with the provisions of Nig.CARs 22.214.171.124 (ICAO Annex 6, Part 1 Chapter 9 as relates to a demonstration of operational competency of navigation over the route and area to be flown and the aerodromes approved for the AOC holder, latest by December 5, 2023,” he stated.
The guidelines further stated that early arrangements for future wet leases should be made with potential lessors to ensure that lessors’ flight crew were acquainted, trained, and prepared to operate in Nigerian airspace.
The NCAA boss warned that failure to comply with the listed requirements will lead to immediate suspension of wet-leased operations and enforcement actions up to and including certificate revocation.