Chairman of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema has called on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to revise the mandatory 18 months? timeline given operators to carry out C- check on all aircraft flying in the country.
C- check is the third category of major maintenance carried out on aircraft every 18 months whether the plane was flown or not.
It is different from line maintenance checks carried out on aircraft, either every month or after some flying hours.
Onyema said the NCAA, in the place of the 18 – month?s maintenance, should adopt the 4,000 flying hour?s timeline obtainable in the United States.
He said the US Federal Aviation Administration requires major aircraft to go for C- check after they have flown about 4,000 hours.
The airline boss said a situation in which an aircraft, if forced by the NCAA to undergo C- check every 18 months, even if the aircraft has not been flying, is making both scheduled and charter operators lose over hundreds of millions of dollars.
Operators, he said, spend not less than $ 500,000 per aircraft anytime the plane is taken overseas for heavy maintenance.
Worried over the huge capital flight, he said it was time government granted approval to some domestic carriers to set up their aircraft maintenance hangar to create jobs and enhance indigenous skills in aeronautical engineering.
Such prospective players, he said, should show evidence of partnership with foreign aircraft repair centres.
Onyema said government should initiate a deliberate policy to make land available at the airport, at an affordable rate for interested domestic carriers that want to set up aircraft maintenance center.
With an estimated 300 aircraft, both chartered and scheduled operating in Nigeria, the industry will be losing over $ 150 million every 18 months for C- check at aircraft maintenance centres overseas .
If an aircraft maintenance centre is set up in Nigeria, such huge funds,Onyemasaid,would be retained to create jobs for teeming aviation professionals.
Onyemasaid: “The NCAA regulation makes it mandatory to go for C – check every 18 months.
“This is only mandatory in Nigeria that an aircraft, whether you operated it or not must go for C – check.
“No other country in the world is doing this. This regulation is too strict. In America, it is four thousand flyinghours.
?America is the owner of civil aviation and they are utilising the four thousand hours regulation before an aircraft can go for C- check.
?But, Nigerian civil aviation rules says 18 months. While the American model is preferable is because, you could attain 4,000 flying hours in about two or three years.
?This is not good, it is capital drain on the country. Every 18 months you have to fly your aircraft abroad for C – check. It is huge expenditure for airlines. Imagine the number of planes in the fleet of Arik, Aero, Air Peace, Medview, AZMAN, Discovery, Overland, DANA Air, the number is huge.
“Every 18 months Nigeria loses several millions of dollars to other countries for aircraft maintenance.
?We are losing this huge sums because we do not have the infrastructure locally to carry out major repairs on aircraft.
“This is contrary to what obtains in other countries of the world.