…decries weakness of civil aviation regulations
…urges Buhari to retain Sirika over moves to reposition sector
Chairman of Aviation Round Table (ART), a non- governmental organisation, Capt. Dele Ore, on Monday, asked the Federal government to use the opportunity that would be presented by the shutting of Abuja airport for repairs, to review Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with other countries with a view to balance up the lopsidedness of the agreements.
Ore, who was reviewing the sector under 2016, noted that the foreign airlines should be made to chose only one entry point each into Nigeria to create more business for domestic airlines.
He said an ample opportunity would be presented during the period of the closure of Abuja airport and flight diversion to Kaduna airport, adding that all signed BASAs should be subjected to review during this period when they would now have opportunity to present the facts before the airlines.
Ore, who said Kaduna was a good choice for the diversion said, ‘Government should use this period to review BASA, it can ask the foreign airlines to choose one entry point, government can use this closure to review our policy because it favours the foreign airlines more, Abuja airport must remain closed until it meets international standard’.
He however urged government to immediately deploy good facilities such as potable Instrument Landing System, to Kaduna airport for higher efficiency.
“We had already said there is need for second runway at Abuja airport, in fact, it is 15 years late for us to have it, I support the decision that the airport be closed for repairs, but there is need to move equipment into Kaduna now such that will handle heavy traafic”, he said.
Speaking on regulations, Ore blasts the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for weak regulations in the sector.
He said for instance, the licensing department of the Authority is so weak that licences are now given to airlines and individuals who has no qualifications for them.
“The licensing department is very weak, it licences anything that comes, it is a weak system that grants licences to those who do not merit it, when the DG does not sit in Nigeria, how can he plan for succession, especially in licensing. The NCAA should not also be interfered with, it should not take instructions that are not safe for the sector”, he added.
While noting that without functional Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul base, effective regulatory body, manpower and fuel, no airline can survive in Nigeria, Ore urged President Muhmmadu Buhari to retain Hadi Sirika as Aviation minister, saying he is the only minister that is ‘ready to reposition a rotten sector like this’.
“He is the only one that is ready to listen to stakeholders he is ready to take criticisms, listen to his colleagues, he had so far related with the sector well. The way he mobilised support for the reelection of Olumuyiwa Aliu as ICAO President is overwhelming, that is an international stride. His moves and plans so far show he is ready to change the rot in the sector. A new minister will need to be told what to do and how to go about things again. He is an expert and has shown it”.