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Aircraft

Aircraft register

What are the requirements for entry in the domestic aircraft register?

Under Part 4 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, an aircraft is eligible for registration in Nigeria if it is owned by a citizen, permanent resident, corporation doing business in Nigeria, a Nigerian government entity or has been leased to one of the aforementioned. The aircraft must not be registered under the laws of any other state and must not be more than 22 years old, subject to an exception for aircraft used exclusively for general aviation purposes. A person wishing to register an aircraft must submit an application with supporting documents to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

Mortgages and encumbrances

Is there a domestic register for aircraft mortgages, encumbrances and other interests? If so, what are the requirements and legal effects of registration?

There is no register of aircraft mortgages, encumbrances and other interests. The regulations provide that the authority must establish and maintain a Legal Interests in Aircraft Registry, which for each aircraft registered in Nigeria lists proprietary rights, interests, liens and other dealings. However, there is no such registry as yet. Such interests can be registered when applying for registration.

As Nigeria is a party to the Geneva Convention (Convention on the International Recognition of Rights in Aircraft 1948) and the Cape Town Convention (Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment 2001), all rights of property in aircraft and mobile equipment and other interests are recognised.

Detention

What rules and procedures govern the detention of aircraft?

Section 27(3) of the Civil Aviation Act gives the authority the power to take all steps reasonably necessary, including the power to ground any aircraft in order to ensure compliance with the act. Section 52 provides for detention of a foreign aircraft on the basis of infringement of certain intellectual property entitled to protection in Nigeria until the owner makes a deposit. The tribunal and procedure are set by the minister of aviation.

Pursuant to the specific power granted under Section 53 of the act, Rule 1.3.3.4 of the regulations provides that an aircraft which is involved in a violation for which a civil penalty has been imposed or may be imposed on its owner or operator may be subject to detention by the authority in accordance with its enforcement procedures.  

Schedule 5 of the act incorporates the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, which recognises (Article 39) the right of a state entity, inter-governmental organisation or any other private provider of public services to arrest or detain an object under the law of that state for payment of amounts owed to such entity, organisation or provider, directly relating to those services in respect of that object or another object.

Safety and maintenance

What rules and procedures govern aircraft safety and maintenance?

Part 2 of the regulations provides for personnel licensing requirements for maintenance engineers, while Part 3 regulates approved training for maintenance personnel. Part 5 prescribes regulations on airworthiness, as well as aircraft maintenance and inspection.  

Under Part 5, all aircraft registered in Nigeria or operating within Nigeria must receive a certificate of airworthiness on application to the authority. Aircraft that are not airworthy are ineligible for operations. Part 5 also includes requirements for maintaining an aircraft in an airworthy condition. Persons are prohibited from performing maintenance, preventive maintenance or modifications on an aircraft other than as prescribed in the regulations. Certain failures, malfunctions and defects must be reported by owners or operators of aircraft to the authority. All aircraft must be maintained in accordance with an approved maintenance programme. The regulations also regulate persons authorised to perform inspections and require the keeping of maintenance and inspection records in a prescribed form. Part 6 provides for the registration and monitoring of approved maintenance organisations in Nigeria.

Drones

What is the state of regulation on unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in your jurisdiction?

Part 8 of the regulations relates to the certification and operation of remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles. The authority has issued Guidelines and Requirements for the Grant of a Permit for Aerial Aviation Services. No one can launch a remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicle in Nigerian airspace without obtaining requisite approvals from the authority and the Office of the National Security Adviser. Operators must comply with the conditions stipulated in their permits or face punishment. The operating rules contained in Part 8 of the regulations include:

  • requirements for authorisation from the authority and security agencies;
  • territorial restrictions;
  • approval of flight plans; and
  • certificate of airworthiness.

The requirements to apply for an aerial navigation services permit are detailed in the guidelines.  

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