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Private jet owners to fly without operators’ certificate

By on March 31, 2013

The Federal Government is coming up with a new policy that will allow private jet owners to fly without Air Operators Certificate.

SUNDAY PUNCH leanrt that the new general aviation policy being put together by the Ministry of Aviation has forced government to suspend the importation of private jets for some months.

A draft of the policy is ready, according to a source close to the ministry.

The draft, the source said, contained a comprehensive review of the entire general aviation (private/business jets) policy.

The source, who pleaded anonymity, said the new policy had been completed, except for some legal details relating to the 2006 Civil Aviation Act.

Under the new general aviation policy soon to be unveiled, the source said, “Private jet owners would no longer be required to own an AOC to operate their private jets.”

He explained that since private jet owners were not into commercial operation of aircraft, it would be of no use asking them to get an AOC before they could fly their jets.

“The current situation where every private jet owner is required to get an AOC before they can operate their jet will no longer be tenable. The new general aviation policy is tailored towards the American system where aircraft operators are divided into various categories.

“And as in the United States, where we have various parts of the regulations governing different categories of operators, we will have a situation where heavy commercial operators like Aerocontractors Airlines will be placed under Part 121; light commercial operators like Overland and Bristow and chartered aircraft operators will be put under Part 135; then private jet owners who are just flying themselves, friends, and family members will be put under Part 91, which does not require the use of an AOC. Only part 121 and 135 will require an AOC,” the so0urce stated.

The ministry official explained that under the new regime, prospective private jet owners, after getting approval from the ministry and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority would operate the aircraft as soon as the airplanes arrived in the country.

The official, however, explained that the new policy also included a strict oversight system where NCAA inspectors would have a close monitoring of the operations and activities of private jets owners.

According to the source, more team of inspectors will be deployed to monitor private jet owners.

Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, had a few months ago confirmed that government was drafting a new policy for the general aviation sub-sector.

The Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Joe Obi, however, stressed that the suspension of jet importation, following the policy review, did not affect commercial and passenger aircraft being used by domestic airlines.

He said, “The domestic airlines are free to bring in their normal passenger planes. But the suspension only affects private jets.

“The government is trying to work on a new policy for the private jets. You will agree with me that the current policy on private jets is old, and there is a need to renew it.  Pending that renewal, all applications for importation for now will have to hold on.”

Asked if there was a time frame for the lifting of the suspension, Obi had said, “There is no definite time for now. It depends on when the new policy is completed. Government is working on the policy. When it is completed, everybody will be informed.”

When contacted on government plan to exempt private jet owners from the use of AOC, the minister’s sp0kesman, Obi pleaded for patience until the new policy be unveiled.

In a text message to our correspondent, he said, “Please wait for the policy document to be released. It is still being worked out.”

Some stakeholders, however, reasoned that the new policy was part of government’s plans to grow Nigeria’s private jet sector, apart from building more separate private jet terminals at various airports across the country.

Private jet ownership in Nigeria grew by 650 per cent, from 20 jets in 2007 to over 150 jets in 2012.

Some wealthy Nigerians had acquired at least 130 private jets with a sum of N1.02tn ($6.5bn) in the last five years, it was gathered.

The private jets in Nigeria are owned by top politicians, oil magnates, business moguls and pastors.

It is difficult to get the real identities of owners of some of the private jets because they buy them through some foreign companies in North America, especially the US.

Stakeholders say such foreign companies lease them to companies in Nigeria.




One Comment

  1. Patrick Rod

    April 18, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Great news for private jet owners, now they don’t need this certificate to operates their jets.