NCAA I’ll resolve identified deficiencies before ICAO’s audit-Capt Nuhu

The Director General, of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu has assured that the regulatory body would resolve deficiencies identified through the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) activities with a view to scaling the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit coming up next month.

He said Nigeria was prepared to excel in the forthcoming audit of the sector by the ICAO.

The ICAO-USOAP, which is conducted every four years, focuses on a state’s capability in providing safety oversight by assessing whether the State has implemented the critical elements (CEs) of a safety oversight system effectively and consistently.

NCAA DG, Capt. Musa Nuhu

Capt. Nuhu, who delivered the keynote address at the 27th edition of the annual conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) with the theme: “Aviation Industry: Changing Times, Changing Strategies, said: ‘ICAO conducts the audit of every member state about every three or four years and hence would be auditing Nigeria.

“As you are aware, we are undergoing ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP)) yet again in August 2023. We are on top of our duties, leaving nothing to chance in resolving deficiencies identified through the ICAO USOAP activities.”

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“We are positive as our preparations are in top gear for the forthcoming audits. We are prime to excel again as Nigeria has a lot riding on the modest credentials of the existing regime of robust regulations and almost-a-decade of zero accidents in scheduled flight operations.”, he said.

While praising industry players for not resting on their oars despite the harsh operating environment, he also spoke of some achievements recorded by the industry, despite huge challenges.

“While I cannot stand here and declare that there are no challenges we are faced with. I cannot agree less that the sector is beset with myriads of surmountable challenges. However, challenges bring opportunities. The cynics have once expressed views that growth in the aviation sector could only double after 15 years but the reverse is the case. Rather we are seeing steady growth in the domestic sector with more airlines processing their Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) and the rate of connections among cities increasing. We are witnessing Nigerian airlines embarking on aggressive, but strategic expansion in regional connectivity and route strength as well.

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“In spite of the numerous challenges, Nigeria’s air transport is making progress. The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) in a recent study recognized that Nigeria’s air transportation sector has contributed over $1.7 billion in addition to the provision of well over 240,00 jobs. As our traffic figures doubling so is the number of young airports increasing with the old ones embarking on massive infrastructure upgrade, expansion, and equipment modernization for safety, security, safe air navigation, weather observation, and forecasting.”

“Following the approval granted by the Federal Government, Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) have been licensed to bear light weapons like their counterparts in some European nations to enhance safety and boost their confidence to go to delicate areas at airports across the country. FAAN Training Centre was designated as ICAO Aviation Security Training Centre of Excellence while Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) received Regional Training Centre of Excellence (RTCE).”

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The regulatory authority boss also charged airlines to use equipment that suits their business models while calling for mergers and alliances for efficiency and sustainability.

NCAA

“While operators should choose the aircraft that best suits their business plan choice of decrepit and wrong aircraft type for flight operations could be the greatest undoing of an airline. In fact, the global airline industry is one of the most competitive industries. Therefore, to effectively tap into its huge market opportunity, cooperative behaviour and alliances among airlines became inevitable as it is prevalent in other climes.”

Wole Shadare