Indigenous-owned airline flying local routes in Nigeria have been placed under strict surveillance to forestall any possible air crashes, says the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Muhtar Usman.
A spate of near-crash incidences involving Dana Air, Medview Airline, Arik Air and the breaching of airport security to burgle an Air Peace and two other chartered aircraft while still taxing on the runway of the Lagos airport, recently, have raised fresh fears on the safety of the Nigerian aviation industry.
The Federal Government had followed it up by demanding that the NCAA carry out a safety audit of Dana Air.
Usman, who spoke to Aviation reporters, in Lagos, on Wednesday, said safety and security inspectors have now been deployed to scrutinize all local aircraft designated to fly on any particular moment to ensure that they are air worthy – safe and secure for passengers and crew.
He said, “Of course, when you have such occurrences, they are to give you an early warning probably of something more to come if you don’t do anything.
“We are intensifying our surveillance especially at the ramp; checking and re-checking, inspecting as much as possible to ensure that whatever happens is in the past.
“So, we take note of those incidences that have happened, and we are going to learn from those incidences to ensure that we don’t have any unforeseen accident. Even though we had some incidences, none resorted into any fatality or any serious injury to passengers,” Usman added.
Usman said the NCAA would continue to sustain and improve on the current safety level in the industry assuring that the regular would not fail in enforcing safety practices by local airlines.
“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,” said Usman.
On the recent complaints by some stakeholders on the incursion of Consumer Protection Council (CPC) into aviation activities, Usman pointed out that both the CPC and NCAA were working towards a common goal of consumer satisfaction, adding that the NCAA would try as much as possible to work with the CPC to ensure improvement in the system.
“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,” he added.