An Aviation Heights Clearance (AHC) is an official permission granted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to an applicant prior to the commencement of construction or erection of a structure within the Nigerian Airspace. AHC must be obtained before the construction of towers, telecommunication masts, high-rise buildings and structures, and landing facilities, failure of which may lead to demolition.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority
The NCCA is the agency responsible for regulating activities and the granting of permits to erect these structures. The directives on how to obtain the Aviation Heights Clearance are provided for by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Act 2006 (NCAA), which empowers the authority to prohibit, regulate, and remove any structure which, by virtue of its height or position, is considered to endanger the safety of aircraft operations.
The Aviation Authority regulates these activities through the Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards. Thus, no person or organization shall put up a structure (permanent or temporary) within the navigable airspace of Nigeria unless such a person or organization is a holder of Aviation Heights Clearance Certificate granted under this Regulation.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Act
Civil aviation is one of the most regulated industries in the world. The NCAA Act is the law that establishes the NCAA, the Nigerian Authority, as each country’s own authority. The NCAA is the apex regulatory body, overseeing the activities of all airlines and their pilots, engineers, and cabin staff; airports, airstrips, heliports, navigation aids; all service providers, including the airport authority and the air traffic service provider; aviation training institutions, etc. The NCAA watches over the entire industry. It also issues Aviation Heights Clearance by the Aerodrome Regulations
How to apply for Aviation Heights Clearance
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has directed all operators and providers of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks to obtain Aviation Heights Clearance (AHC) Permits and Licenses before constructing high-rise structures (like telecommunications masts).
A person or organization proposing the construction of a structure or alterations to an existing structure shall make a request in writing to the Aviation Authority. The application letter shall contain the following information for an off-aerodrome proposal:
- owner of the proposed structure.
- address of the proposed structure.
- The site is located at WGS 84.
- elevation (above mean sea level) of the site.
- The proposed height of the structure, including antennas or other appurtenances, is
- The application letter shall contain the following supplemental information for the On-Aerodrome proposal:
- drawing (preferably scaled) showing the location of the object in relation to the nearest active runways;
- Perpendicular distance of the proposed structure to the nearest active runway centerline;
- Distance along centerline (actual or extended) from runway end to the perpendicular intercepts point;
- Ground elevation at the site of the proposed structure:
- Geographical Coordinates (WGS 84) of the Site;
- Proposed height of the structure, including antennas or other appurtenances ;
- sketches, drawings, etc. showing the type of construction or alteration being proposed.
The Authority may conduct an aeronautical study to determine the impact of a proposed structure or an existing structure, or an alteration of an existing structure on aeronautical operations, procedures, charting of flights and the safety of flight. The proposed site shall be assessed by the Authority to verify the accuracy of the information submitted by the applicant and for effective aeronautical studies of the structure.
Upon aeronautical study and verification of the information submitted, the Authority shall issue a determination stating whether the proposed construction or alteration would be a hazard to air navigation and will advise the applicant and any known interested party accordingly. The Authority shall issue an AHC if the results of an aeronautical study carried out indicate that the erection of the structure on the proposed site will not constitute a hazard to air navigation.
The Authority shall not grant AHC to any structure when the aeronautical study concludes that the proposed construction or alteration will exceed an obstruction standard and would have a substantial aeronautical impact.
Aviation Heights Clearance
The Holder of an AHC Certificate must ensure that:
- The height of the structure does not exceed the height for which AHC has been granted;
- The structure is appropriately marked and lighted as stipulated in the conditions for granting the AHC;
- The painting and warning lights to be used on the approved structures conform to appropriate standards for conspicuity that would better serve aviation safety;
- Proper records of AHC granted to it and the renewal of the AHC, at least 30 days to the expiry dates.
- Upon receiving the certificate, necessary information of the applicant and the certificate must be registered in the Register of aerodromes with 7 days of getting the certificate.
Fees for obtaining Aviation Heights Clearance
|Structure||Initial Processing Fee||Renewal|
|Communication Mass||100, 000||50, 000|
|Other high rise Building/Structure||100, 000||50, 000|
|Towers||500, 000||200, 000|
Validity and Renewal of AHC Certificate
The AHC when issued remains valid for a period of one year after which it will be due for renewal unless the certificate is suspended, withdrawn or cancelled by the Authority.
Suspension or Cancellation of AHC Certificate
The Authority shall suspend or cancel AHC certificate if there is a variation in the approved height of structure without notification to the Authority or the holder of the AHC fails to carry out appropriate maintenance regarding the painting, markers and warning lights on the structure. The holder of a suspended or cancelled AHC shall ensure that the anomalies that caused the suspension or cancellation are addressed within 21- days or have the structure dismantled.
Failure to Obtain AHC Certificate
Failure to obtain the AHC Certificate might lead to the structure being dismantled or demolished as it constitutes a danger to the safety of air navigation. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has embarked on a campaign to enforce the provisions of the Act to ensure compliance. It announced on April 24, 2019, that it is set to enforce Aviation Height Clearance on over 7000 telecom masts that constitute a danger to aviation navigation and issued a 30-day ultimatum to telecom providers in Nigeria to comply.
Sidebrief is a RegTech startup that makes business registration and compliance easy for founders, entrepreneurs, and business owners across Africa by removing lengthy paperwork, complexity, and hidden fees. We provide the tools for founders to start and scale businesses across borders from a single interface.