Nuhu made the plea at a Gateway Forum organised by the League of Aviation and Airport Correspondents (LAAC) on Wednesday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Air Peace Airline had complained about exploitative treatment in some West Coast destinations.

Nuhu explained that if the authority had been carried along, it would have known how to wade in, and protect the airlines appropriately.

He said: “The airlines should always carry the NCAA, the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian Embassy in the country they are flying into along.

“We are here to help them grow, they should carry us along; it will be very helpful when the airlines carry the regulatory body along.

“And when they have difficulties, they should complain to us; we will stand with them and guide them and even go with them. There must be fairness from both sides,” he said.

Nuhu explained that Federal Government’s palliatives would only be given to operational airlines with valid Air Operator Certificate (AOC) which would access whatever was being tabled.

The director-general said the palliatives to be given by government have been touted to take different forms, some of which were speculated to be single digit loans for a number of years.

Nuhu, however, said the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), would not err in putting forward a defunct airline for the palliative.

Any airline can apply, whether functioning or not, but it is a policy that participating airlines must be functioning and with Air Operators Certificate.

“I also believe that the AON has its own set of rules and they know the criteria. I believe the AON will not put forward a non-functioning airline,” he said.

The NCAA director-general explained that on the economic viability of Nigerian airlines, the COVID-19 had levelled, even the strongest of carriers.

According to him, this is different from what was happening and most were being handed bailouts to survive across the globe.

Nuhu noted that the financial health of airlines was not limited to Nigerian airlines, saying it was a global issue, especially due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

He said NCAA had seen airlines that had got millions of dollars as subsidies from their governments, and they still had issues.

Nuhu said that several airlines had sacked their workers such as British Airlines, Emirates, Lufthansa and were withdrawing some aircraft.