Who owns the airports?

Most of the airports in Nigeria are owned by the federal government and operated by the FAAN. There are some privately owned airports, such as the Osubi airport in Warri, Delta state, which is owned and operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company. There has also been a successful concession of an airport terminal in Lagos to a private company.


What system is there for the licensing of airports?

Part 12 of the NCARs specifies aerodrome certification. An aerodrome certificate is issued by the NCAA subsequent to the approval of an aerodrome operator’s manual. Under the regulation, certification and licensing have the same meaning when used in the regulations, the CAA as well as the aerodrome standard manual and related guidance materials.

Economic regulation

Is there a system of economic regulation of airports? How does it function?

There is no specific system of economic regulation for airports. However, the NCAA has the power to conduct the economic regulation of airlines, aerodromes, air navigation services, and other allied aviation and services providers.


Are there laws or rules restricting or qualifying access to airports?

For domestic operators, there are no laws or rules qualifying access to airports. Domestic operators may operate in any airport of their choice, subject to availability of slots in such airports for their operations. Foreign carriers operating in Nigeria are restricted to the airport of entry specified for their operations pursuant to the relevant air services agreement between Nigeria and the contracting state designating such air carrier. By-laws made by the FAAN prohibit access by unauthorised persons to certain areas of airports. Such areas are marked as restricted areas.

Slot allocation

How are slots allocated at congested airports?

Most local airports are underutilised and there is no specific regulation for slot allocation in Nigeria. Regarding international operations, slots are allocated largely at the discretion of the FAAN. Slots are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and are coordinated by an autonomous committee set up by various airport operators to define the slot allocation system.

Ground handling

Are there any laws or rules specifically relating to ground handling. What are they?

The CAA authorises the NCAA to issue licences to applicants seeking to operate ground handling services in Nigeria. An applicant seeking to operate grounding handling services must clearly spell out his or her name and address, state the type of ground handling services to be provided and the proposed airport in which the applicant intends to provide the services. The NCAA only issues a substantive licence upon satisfaction that the applicant can offer safe and efficient services.

Further to section 72 of the CAA, which makes it mandatory for all persons engaged in the sale, distribution and provision of allied services to obtain a licence from the NCAA, the NCAA, through the Department of Economic Regulation and Facilitation’s ‘allied services unit’, issues guidelines for obtaining a ground handling licence.

Under these guidelines, an applicant seeking a licence to operate ground handling services in Nigeria is required to forward a written application to the director general of the NCAA on or before a date at least six months prior to the preferred commencement of operations.

There are three stages in the application: the pre-qualification stage, the qualification stage and the demonstration stage. At the pre-qualification stage, the applicant is required to pay a 1 million naira non-refundable processing fee, obtain and complete pre-qualification processing forms and then return the said forms to the NCAA with evidence of payment of the non-refundable processing fee with the documents in the guidelines. An applicant company must, among other requirements, have a minimum share capital of 500 million naira.

Upon the receipt and evaluation of these documents, the NCAA is required to invite the directors of the company to a meeting with its officials and seek comments from the airport operator or owner on the proposed operation. Upon a satisfactory fulfilment of the requirements by the applicant, the NCAA will request that the applicant acquires the necessary equipment and demonstrate its capability to carry out efficient services. The applicant will be required to demonstrate its ability to offer efficient services in accordance with the provisions of ICAO Annex 9 on Facilitation and Annex 17 on Security.

A licence granted is valid for five years. Subsequent to the receipt of a licence, a utilisation fee of 100,000 naira shall be paid to the NCAA annually.

Air traffic control

Who provides air traffic control services? And how are they regulated?

The NAMA has the exclusive responsibility for air traffic control services. The NAMA’s activities are carried out by different departments responsible for services such as the air traffic advisory service, alerting service and flight information service. The functions of the NAMA are regulated by the Nigerian Airspace Management (Establishment, etc) Act and the CAA, while the Federal Ministry of Aviation acts as the supervising ministry over the NAMA’s affairs.