What rules govern the ownership of airports (both public and private)?
The Civil Aviation Act provides that the minister for aviation may approve the establishment and development of aerodromes anywhere in Nigeria, provided that a licence for an aerodrome will not be granted to anyone other than:
- a citizen of Nigeria; or
- the federal government, a state government, a local government or any company or corporation owned or controlled by the government; or
- a company or corporation registered in Nigeria and with its principal place of business in Nigeria.
What is the authorisation procedure for the operation of airports?
In order to operate an airport in Nigeria, the operator must hold an aerodrome certificate granted under Part 12 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations.
An application for the issuance of an aerodrome certificate is made to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in the appropriate form prescribed and must be accompanied by relevant documents. The authority grants the certificate to the applicant if the aerodrome facilities, services and equipment are in accordance with the standards specified in the authority’s aerodrome standards manual and regulations.
An aerodrome certificate remains in force for three years, unless it is suspended or revoked by the authority. The renewal of an aerodrome certificate must be commenced at least 90 days before the expiry of the existing term.
What ongoing operating requirements apply (including obligations relating to safety, security and facilities maintenance)?
The regulations make extensive provisions for the operation of an aerodrome. An operator of a certified aerodrome must:
- have an aerodrome manual with specified content;
- comply with the standards specified in the aerodrome standards manual and with any conditions endorsed in the aerodrome certificate;
- employ adequate numbers of qualified and skilled personnel to perform all critical activities for aerodrome operation and maintenance;
- train all personnel before the initial performance of their duties and retrain them at least once every three years;
- implement a safety management system acceptable to the authority (as prescribed in Part 20 of the regulations) and require all users of the aerodrome to comply with the requirements; and
- develop and maintain an emergency plan for the aerodrome with specified content.
What airport charges apply and how are they regulated?
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency impose airport charges. Where the federal government grants a concession for the management of the airport to a private company, the concessionaire is also entitled to impose charges for the use of the airport. Some of the charges include:
- landing fees;
- parking fees;
- passenger service charges; and
- ticket or cargo charges.
The charges are regulated by the government agency which imposes them, backed by the enabling legislation, regulations and bylaws made by such agencies. The fares and charges imposed by private airport operators are regulated by the authority. Part 18 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations requires all airport operators to provide the authority with a schedule of the charges and tariffs imposed by them and prohibits them from imposing any charges unless approved by the authority.
What regulations govern access to airports?
Bylaws made pursuant to the Federal Airports Authority Act provide for access to airports. Unauthorised persons are prohibited from certain areas of airports clearly marked as restricted.
The Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations also regulate access to the airport, requiring the aerodrome operators to restrict access to movement areas and safety areas only to:
- ground and operation vehicles in possession of an airside vehicle permit or company logo;
- drivers with an airside driver’s permit; and
- pedestrians necessary for aerodrome and aircraft operations.
What regime governs the allocation of airport slots (including slot transfer, revocation and disputes)?
Generally, slots are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. However, allocation is ultimately determined by the airport operators, which is usually the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria. There are also a few privately operated airports.
How are ground handling services regulated?
Persons operating ground handling services in Nigeria must be licensed by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
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