By Kerry Ezard in London

Nigeria’s government has introduced new legislation that sets minimum capital requirements for airlines operating in the country as part of a restructuring programme aimed at reforming aviation safety standards in the African country.

Aviation minister Babalola Borishade has approved a recommendation put forward by the federal taskforce charged with examining problems in the Nigerian aviation sector, which proposes setting minimum capitalisation levels to ensure “technical and financial competence of the airlines to operate”, says the Nigerian government in a statement.

Under the new legislation, domestic-only operators will have to be capitalised with a minimum of 500 million nairas ($3.9 million), while carriers operating throughout Africa will have a minimum capitalisation level of one billion nairas. This increases to two billion nairas for carriers with services outside the continent.

In addition, the Nigerian government has awarded airport safety improvement contracts amounting to 19.5 billion nairas to an undisclosed consortium. “As soon as these refurbishments and the equipping of the aviation sector is concluded, the Nigerian airspace will be more than safe and will equally meet the IATA audit requirement in November,” says Borishade.

The move is part of an 11-point aviation safety improvement plan that was drawn up by Borishade in the aftermath of the fatal 20 October 2005 crash of a Bellview Airlines Boeing 737-200.

Source: Flight International