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Aviation authority to certify airlines for post-lockdown restart

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued a post-COVID-19 restart advisory circular, containing protocol for the scheduled carrier.

The circular, with number NCAA-AC-FSG-001, mandates all scheduled commercial airlines to apply and obtain an approval from the authority to resume operation once the restriction is lifted.

General Manager Public Affairs at the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said the proactive measure was to prepare the stakeholders ahead of the resumption and have seamless return to safe flights.

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Adurogboye said despite the recent extension of flight restrictions by another four weeks, the apex regulatory body is hands-on in its duties and offering all necessary assistance to the operators.

In the restart protocol, the authority will grant approval to applicants upon satisfactory assessment of airlines for compliance with all relevant COVID-19 guidelines and applicable Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig, CARs) following the prolonged lockdown period.

The Airlines will be required to show evidence of compliance with actions listed under the immediate action plans required by the NCAA.

“No airline will be given start-up clearance without meeting the restart requirements,” the circular read in part.

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One of the items that will be required as one of the immediate actions requested by the authority is the airline’s restart plan to provide assurance of safe operations both from the technical perspective of flight operations i.e. to address issues like aircraft disinfection, aircraft de-preservation, flight crew recurrency or proficiency, and from the perspective of putting measures in place to protect passengers from COVID-19 infection.

One of the requirements the airlines will be required to comply with as one of the immediate restart actions is the COVID-19 Public Health Corridor Concept Protocol. It covers a diverse range of topics to protect against COVID-19 infection from passenger boarding, passenger and flight protection in flight to disembarkation. In case of a COVID-19 threat on board, a process to manage the situation is also required.

The guidance is broken into immediate actions, short, medium and long-term plans by the NCAA to assure operational licenses and aircraft airworthiness certifications are readily available for the airlines to resume operations as quickly and seamlessly as possible when the pandemic is over.

The immediate, short, medium and long-term plans are organised to address key functional areas listed above which are critical and dependent on the airlines and the Authority. Though ANSP and Airport Operations are critical to flight operations, the actions related to those areas are addressed by two separate sets of guidance issued by the NCAA. This plan is limited to only actions required to be taken by airlines to obtain the NCAA approvals to restart operations.

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