August 1, 2021

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PREPARING TO TAKEOFF: Air Peace leads, others urge to prioritise right, NAMA, NIMET, AVSEC to increase pace- NCAA Scorecard

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Domestic airlines operators have been urged to buckle up and fulfil all righteousness for getting the birds back to the sky but warned to desist from claims that does not emanate from the regulatory body so as to avert sanction while still struggling for steam to get back to the sky.

This word of caution came from the Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, while intimating stakeholders with the scorecards of the airlines, air navigation service provider, meteorologist, and the avsec on the existing gaps still impeding flight restart in the country.

After intimating stakeholders on the progress recorded since the last briefing, the Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation, NCAA, Capt Nuhu Musa, spare a word of caution for the airlines.

The DG urged airliners to make sure of more important things that will get them back to business soonest and not engage in utterances that could not be fathomed and could earned them sanction while still struggling to take off.

He said nothing like dry run was ever approved from his office for any airline, and for any operator to make claims the regulator could find difficult to corroborate is no doubt dangerous apart from prospect of litigation unfathomed claim could spark should there be any unforeseen occurrence.

Capt. Nuhu urged the airlines to take good advantage of various exemptions they are granted. He urged the operators to give speedy attention to their Pilots proficiency program and the crew recertification among others.

Nuhu said the regulator expected the airlines to quickly scale through with their upgrade programs in lieu of the simulator. The situation he said covid-19 had brought on the industry.

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The scorecard as presented by Engr. Godwin Balang, General Manager, Airline Operators’ Certificate and Surveillance, revealed that the airlines have climbed up to 76% preparedness collectively but standing alone, Air Peace is leading the pack.

The operators were reminded to ensure they disinfect their aircraft as it was part of the drawback. DG added that it was mandatory the operators make use of the Original Equipment Manufacture, OEM, in disinfecting the aircraft as it surely will count on their score.

Among the unscheduled operators, only one was said to have submitted its restart plan while seem not to give the deserved attention. The regulator found that nearly all operators were not given adequate attention to Personnel Licencing, PEL, as it is another fulcrum to restarting flight operation especially to theose still having valid Airline Operator Certificate, AOC.

Of the eight schedule operators appraised, seven were found to be solvent, good and should be running while only three out of the unscheduled operators were reviewed.

On Air Navigation Services, Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Owerri and Portharcourt recorded low score that required drastic attention in order to get the restart happen without further delay than necessary.

However, the scoresheet on air navigation preparedness and meteorology at Portharcourt, Owerri, revealed lots of gaps that the DG said he found very worrisome.

The scoresheet revealed some equipment- VOR, DME etc- were yet to be calibrated in the two airports. No temperature measuring devices, no PPE for staff. The Air Traffic Controllers still lack enough head sets, duty roaster grossly inadequate and recommended online training was still lacking for personnel in the ANSP

The DG reiterated that most of those courses were World Health Organisation, WHO recommended training to help aviation cope well with the covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

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