This article seeks to provide answers to frequently asked questions about aircraft registration in Nigeria.
Tell us a bit about the Jurisdiction?
Nigeria, commonly known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria is made up 36 states or federating units and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. The country has about 31 airports. There are about 39 AOC holders (for schedule and non-schedule flight operations) while about 28 foreign airlines are operating to Nigeria.
Nigeria now boasts of improved aviation infrastructural facilities at the airports’ state of the art navigational aids, modern weather forecasting equipment and highly skilled manpower to ensure safety and comfort of the flying public.
Tell us a bit about the registry?
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is the regulatory body for aviation in Nigeria. It became an independent specialist aviation regulator and operator of the civil aircraft register with the passing into law of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 by the National Assembly and its assent by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Act not only empowers the Authority to regulate Aviation Safety without political interference but to also carry out oversight functions of Airports, Airspace, Meteorological Services, etc as well as economic regulations of the industry.
Can you give us some recent Licence/Crew Data?
The following are the Licence/Crew Data (for current active crew) as at January, 2021: License Pilots, 2133; Certification of validation for Pilots, 175; Aircraft Maintenance Engineer’s Licence, 1659; Aircraft Maintenance Engineer’s Licence with validation, 24; Aircraft Dispatchers’ Licence, 588; Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), 372; Cabin Crew Licence, 2343; Air Traffic Safety Electronic Personnel Licence, 430; and Aeronautical Station Operators’ Licence, 105.
Tell us about the Aircraft registration requirements?
Generally, No person may operate a civil aircraft that is eligible for registration under the laws of Nigeria unless it has been registered by its owner or operator under the provisions of the laws of Nigeria and the NCAA has issued a certificate of registration for that aircraft which shall be carried aboard that aircraft for all operations.
Is there nationality or any other requirements for registration and if so, what are they?
An aircraft is eligible for registration in Nigeria if it is— (1) Owned by:
- A citizen of Nigeria,
- An individual citizen of another State who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence in Nigeria, Abbreviations.
- A corporation lawfully organised and doing business under the laws of Nigeria and the aircraft is based and primarily used in Nigeria,
- A government entity of Nigeria or political subdivision thereof; or
- A foreign person who has leased the aircraft to one of the persons described in paragraphs (i)-(iv) above, provided that : (a) The aircraft may remain on the Nigerian registry only for as long as the lease remains in effect ; and (b) The certificate of registration includes the names and addresses of the lessee and, if different, the operator of the aircraft; and (2) Not registered under the laws of any other State; and (3) The aircraft is not more than 22 years old, unless the aircraft is used exclusively for general aviation purposes
What is the format for an application for registration?
An applicant who wishes to register an aircraft in Nigeria must submit an application for aircraft registration to the NCAA in a prescribed form. Every application shall:
(1) Certify as to compliance with 22.214.171.124 of the NCCA Regulations 2015;
(2) Show evidence identifying ownership; and
(3) Be signed in ink. (b) Upon an applicant meeting all requirements for registration, a certificate of registration will be issued by the NCAA.
Are there instances when the NCCA may deregister an aircraft from the Nigerian registry?
The NCCA shall remove an aircraft from the Nigerian registry if:
- The owner of the aircraft does not meet the eligibility standards of Section 126.96.36.199 of the NCCA Regulations 2015 ( See 5 above)
- If a holder of a valid de-registration Power of Attorney applies to the Authority for de-registration.
- When the holder of a Certificate of Registration, owner or lessor or his duly authorized attorney applies in writing for de-registration of the aircraft from the Nigerian Register.
- When the NCCA is satisfied that : (i) The aircraft is destroyed, lost or stolen and cannot be found or ; (ii) The aircraft is permanently withdrawn from use or ; (iii) The aircraft is registered in a country other than Nigeria or ; (iv) The aircraft has a Certificate of Airworthiness which has lapsed for 5 or more years ; or (v) The lease agreement upon which the aircraft was registered has expired or is terminated and a duly executed Irrevocable Deregistration and Export Request Authorization presented except where the owner indicates in writing of his desire for the aircraft to remain registered in Nigeria.
- Where the NCCA exercises its power of de-registration of an aircraft, the Certificate of Registration shall be cancelled and the entry of the aircraft in the aircraft register shall be deleted.
- However, the NCCA may refuse to cancel the registration of an aircraft if, in its opinion, it would be inexpedient in the public interest to do so
What continuing requirements are there to keep an aircraft registered?
The owner of a Nigerian -registered aircraft is responsible for ensuring that the aircraft is fully maintained and operated in accordance with the requirements of the Certicate of Airworthiness (CoA) or Permit to Fly. The aircraft must also be insured in line with the mandatory insurance requirements. Operators of aircraft are required by law to have certain minimum levels of insurance. The precise level depends on the Maximum Take-Off Mass of the aircraft and on the number of passengers carried. Aircraft operators’ insurance must cover:
- Passengers Baggage
- Third-party cover
- Risks of war and terrorism.
What is the initial cost to register an aircraft?
From the NCCA Fee Schedule, the fees to be paid for the issue of a certificate of registration of an aircraft is based on the Maximum Certificated Take-off Mass (MCTOM) of the aircraft. Details of the charges are as stated below as follows:
- Aircraft with Maximum Certified Take – off Mass (MCTOM) that:
- Under 3,000 kg ………………………… N10,000.00
- Between 3,000 and 6,000kg (inclusive) …… N20,000.00
- Exceeds 6,000 kg but does not exceed 15,000.001T …… N30,000.00
- Exceeds 15,000 kg but does not exceed 50,000 kg …… N50,000
- Exceeds 50,000 kg ……………………………..N100,000.00
- A charge of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000.00) is levied on request for a special registration mark which is out of sequence
- Replacement of Certificate of Registration after loss (all aircraft) N25,000.00
- Re-issue of Certificate of Registration following a change of ownership/ operator, for all aircraft, a fee equal to 50% of the applicable fees as shown in paragraphs (i) a-e above
What is the cost to register an aircraft mortgage?
Upon making an application for the registration of a mortgage of an aircraft, the applicant shall pay a charge in accordance with the following schedule:
- On the first N100,000.00, of sum secured by the mortgage and for each complete N10,000.00.
- On the next N900,000.00, for each x100,000.00 or part thereof N500.00
- Thereafter, for each N1,000,000.00 or part thereof
The minimum charge under this is ……………………………………………………………………………………. N10,000.00
The maximum charge under this is ……………………………………………………………………………….. N150,000.00
(2) (a) Where, the mortgage to be registered does not specify the amount, the fee to be paid is …………………………………………………………… N50,000.00
(b) Where an application is made for a mortgage for more than one aircraft then the applicant shall pay a charge :
- For the first aircraft, as calculated in paragraph (1) (a) to (b)(2)(a)
- For each additional aircraft…………………………………………………… N5,000.00.
The answers provided in this article are intended to provide a general guide on aircraft registration in Nigeria. Specialist advice should be sought from the author in specific circumstances.
Joseph Siyaidon, Esq, MCIArb is an Associate in the ADR and Maritime Practice Groups at OAL. He has garnered extensive experience from assisting clients in corporate/commercial, compliance, maritime and dispute resolution in different sectors across Nigeria, UAE and GCC Region.