NAMA seeks SMS implementation to reduce crashes

 

  • Africa targets 50% reduction in fatal accidents

 

The Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mr. Matthew Pwajok called for the implementation of the Safety Management System (SMS) to reduce aircraft crashes in the country.

He told Aviation Metric that the safety policy should be in line with the regional policy saying that safety should be the number one priority in the aviation sector.

According to him, every organisation must have a safety policy, hinting that the focus of the agency is on safety that is in the regional policy.

His words, “We have the Abuja Safety Target. The Ministers of Aviation and Transportation met in July 2012 in Abuja and developed the strategic safety targets that are to be implemented by all countries in Africa and one of the key targets there is that all states in Africa should work towards reducing accidents, fatal aircraft accidents by 50 percent”.

 

 

“Those accidents include the ones caused by runway incursions, runway confusion, runway excursion, loss of control in flight and control flight into terrain. These are the global major causes of fatal accidents all over the world.

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“So that meeting in Abuja is referred to as the Abuja safety targets and the priority is to reduce fatal accidents and strategic measures are inputted for countries to implement to reduce these accidents,” he said.

He explained that the country had witnessed a major reduction in accidents because of the implementing strategies.

He added that there should be a requirement to improve the effective implementation of safety oversight by countries.

“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that is the regulatory authority must effectively monitor airlines and service providers like NAMA, NIMET, and FAAN to ensure that we are complying. They have been doing that very well. Anything that happens to an aircraft, the NCAA will go there and make sure that it is well before it is released.

There should be a commitment in safety policy that must be funded; there must be a commitment by every organisation in implementing a safety plan or safety policy. We are required to implement the quality management, every service provider must implement Safety Management System (SMS),’’ he added.

Pwajok said that the NCAA was also required to implement the State Safety Plan (SSP), while other agencies like NAMA, NIMET, FAAN were expected to implement the SMS to ensure a reduction in flight accidents.

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He also added that in addition, the Quality Management System (QMS) was to be implemented to ensure that safety was maintained in line with the global requirement.

Meanwhile, Pwajok said the outbreak of COVID-19 necessitated the idea of contingency planning in the agency.

Pwajok added that during the outbreak, the aviation industry was hard hit and NAMA was not an exception as it suffered a major challenge of revenue being a self-funded agency.

He said, “So if there is anything we learned to do, it is the building of contingency; of back-up or recovery system or business continuity plan, where we will be able to sustain services no matter what happens. “And we had a few of these instances where we had to provide or relocate the provision of services to a place like that.

“We also learned the need to build contingency funds, we are a government agency and you know TSA, all payments are in one account and it becomes difficult. ”Unlike when you have commercial banking, you can create an account where you can have dedicated funds in case of emergencies.

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“In this case, we have learned the need to be able to build a funding system, where in the event of a situation like this that will affect revenue; we will be able to have something to fall back on. “So very critical is the need to be able to build resilience both financially and in terms of equipment, in terms of personnel,’’ he said.

 

Pwajok said there were instances where an entire watch of air traffic controllers had to be isolated because one person was infected and the whole lot of them had to be isolated and later tested before they were re-integrated.

The NAMA boss said in that instance, the agency had to seek for additional manpower to provide and sustain the services. “So over time, we have learned the need for back-up, the need for resilience, the need for contingency planning in both financial aspect, in both materials, equipment, and personnel aspect.’’

Wole Shadare