As we look forward to a future of boundless opportunities after the COVID-19 pandemic, there is need to reflect on how to strengthen the nation’s aviation laws, especially the Civil Aviation Act of 2006 act, to achieve a better regulatory service in the industry.
Numerous obsolete penalties in this law have led to continuous violation of the law with airlines breaching air space and breaking of the aviation laws.
Recall that last year, Turkish Airlines were suspended by the federal government from the Nigeria air space for treating Nigeria’s disrespectfully, this shows how weak the law is but a timely intervention by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) helped the industry in taking a stand on disrespectful acts by the airline.
The Turkish airline was only a scapegoat of this unruly behavior as other airlines do the same, especially among the international carriers.
Another notable incident that happened recently relating to the breach of the aviation law was a British carrier, a Legacy 600 aircraft belonging to FlairJet with registration G-ERFX impounded and fined N1 million by the Federal Government.
The carrier had visited the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos carrying out commercial flight operations despite the ban on such flights in Nigeria as part of effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
This federal government fine needs to be reviewed as experts lament that N1 million fine is insignificant amid the huge losses recorded by the sector in recent times. It is shocking that the sum is what the NCAA law states in the Sub 36 of the 2006 Act.
Speaking MMS Plus newspaper on the recent breach of the aviation law the General Manager, Public Relations of NCAA, Mr. Samuel Adurogboye noted some sections of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Regulations where violated and the fine is in accordance to NCAA law.
According to him “When a violation occurs, the penalties stated in the NCAA Act 2006 are what would be applied. Whether the violation is trivial or enormous, there is a law so the punishment can’t be outside what is stated in the law. The penalty is based on what the law states”
Indeed, the reaction from the spokesperson of NCAA shows the fine was in line with what the law states. However, this further underscores the need to review such obsolete laws.
Wouldn’t it be more logical for a review of this law stipulating tougher punitive measures and fines imposed for breaching the law?
Moving forward the Ministry of Aviation has hinted that all aviation laws are in process of review. This is a welcome development; however, aviation industry observers have admonished the Ministry to speed up the process.