The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, (formerly known as Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Center) was set up by Act. No 31 of 1964 (as amended), to conduct:
- Civil Aviation courses for use in flight training or airport operations & management as may be prescribed from time to time.
- Training of approved persons in the installation, maintenance and operation, as the case may be, of technical equipment, the use of which is calculated or likely to increase the margin of operational safety of civil aircrafts.
- Training on equipments and necessary facilities for technical research or normal use.
The idea of a center for aviation training in Nigeria was first mooted at an International Forum, the 12th International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly, held in San Diego, California, USA, in 1959. The Federal Government of Nigeria then formally requested the United Nations Development Programme to appoint an expert to assess the actual requirements for the setting up of a Civil Aviation Training Center in Nigeria.The report of the project was approved in 1963, and a bill establishing a Center for Civil Aviation Training at Zaria, Nigeria, was passed by the Federal Legislature on 29th September, 1964, and signed into law on October 23, 1964.
The Center was established as a joint programme between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). This joint programme of assistance from the UNDP and ICAO came to an end on 31st December, 1974 and the Federal Government of Nigeria assumed full responsibility for the continued management and operation of the College.
In 1977, the Board of Governors of the College recommended to the Federal Government a change of name from NIGERIAN CIVIL AVIATION TRAINING CENTER (NCATC) to NIGERIAN COLLEGE OF AVIATION TECHNOLOGY (NCAT), in anticipation of expansion of training and related activities. Official approval did not come until 1986, when the Government issued a White Paper on the “Report of the Fact-Finding Panel into the Activities of the Civil Aviation Department in the Federal Ministry of Aviation”. The change of name was reflected in Decree No. 41 of 1990.