Incidents: NCAA beams searchlight on airlines’ operations


By Sade Williams


The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said it has intensified surveillance on the operations of airlines in the country following minor and major incidents recorded recently.


The regulatory agency said that its inspectors now monitor the activities of the airlines more especially at the ramp areas, stressing that it would continue to sustain and improve on the current safety level in the industry.


Capt. Muhtar Usman, the Director-General of NCAA disclosed this yesterday in an interview with aviation journalists at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.


He also said that the regulatory agency was learning from the incidences that occurred in the industry in these past months, stressing that the lessons would be put to use to prevent major disasters from occurring.


Usman pointed out that the few months spent in the year 2018 had been turbulent in the global aviation industry generally with incidences and accidents, but assured that the regulatory agency in Nigeria would sustain and improve on the safety level in the past years while the safety recommendations of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) would be followed to the letter in order to improve safety in the system.


He pointed out that NCAA would continue to adhere strictly to the eight critical elements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in order to prevent an accident from happening in, adding that it, (NCAA) had consistently carried out safety oversight functions of operating airlines in the country.


He insisted that NCAA no matter the current safety level, would not rest on its oars, but would continue to beam its searchlight on all operators in order to prevent disaster.


“So, we take note of those incidences that have happened, we are going to learn from those incidences to ensure that we don’t have any unforeseen accident. So, we are intensifying our surveillance especially the ramping aspect of it; checking, rechecking, training, re-training, inspections as much as possible to ensure that whatever happens is in the past.


“Let me say that the year 2018 started with so many incidences and even accidents worldwide. Unfortunately, even though we have some incidences here, none has resorted into any fatality or any serious injury. Of course, when you have occurrences, incidences, they are to give you an early warning probably of something more to come if you don’t do anything.


“Of course, we are all humans with our own inadequacies and that is why accidents or incidences happen, but our job here in NCAA is to prevent those accidents or incidences from happening and that we do through the safety oversight systems as defined by ICAO.”


On the recent incursion of Consumer Protection Council (CPC) into aviation activities, Usman advised the agency to focus much of its attention in other areas with less regulation.


He explained that aviation industry is one of the most regulated sectors in the globe with international annexes and documents.


He however pointed out that both government agencies were working towards a common goal of consumer satisfaction, adding that it would try as much as possible to work with the agency to ensure improvement in the system.


“Aviation industry is one of the most regulated industries in the world, we operate under the standards and recommended practises set up by ICAO. We have annexes to the convention that we have to abide by, we also have our own regulations following some of these civil aviation Acts and the international civil aviation annexes and documents.


“Aviation is international in nature and there are several treaties, bilateral air services, and other agreements, Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) and other activities especially commercial activities. So, the role of CPC should be complementary with that of NCAA. As I have said, we have to contend with other international treaties, MoUs and agreements signed by Nigeria. CPC should focus more on other areas that are not so regulated like aviation.”

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