Making Nigeria’s aviation regulations compliant to international standards
Sustaining air transport safety and regulations for continuous improvement in the sector, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has embarked on three-day workshop to update stakeholders on the changes the industry need to adopt and use, so as to meet international recommended practices and standards.
The regulatory body, however, disclosed that, there have been a lot of changes as regards the documentation from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which the aviation industry regulations need to be in line with those changes that have taken place.
According to NCAA, in order to keep up with these changes, there should be a continuous exercise of bringing the stakeholders together for all the necessary amendment and as well as make their own inputs for safe and efficient air traffic flow in Nigeria.
Speaking at the stakeholders’ workshop on the proposed amendment to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig, CARs) in Lagos, recently, the Director General, NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman stated that this was the first major amendment since promulgation of the regulations, stressing that, ‘when you are using any document, you test it and after sometimes, where you see the need to amend, you amend and it is very normal since the regulation is meant for the stakeholders that are here’, he added.
His words: “It is a continuous exercise and this one is a major one but we do it continuously anytime there are changes we update. “We need to bring them in to make their own inputs because the regulation is not for us but for the stakeholders and for safe and efficient air traffic flow in Nigeria”, he said.
According to the body, the Stakeholders’ Workshop is in accordance with the obligation imposed on the Authority in Sec 30(12) of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 which states that “in the exercise of its power to make regulations under this section, the Authority shall consult with stakeholders including airlines, aerodrome operators, air traffic control service providers, consumers and other relevant bodies and organizations in the aviation industry.
I know you are all well represented at this workshop. It noted that stakeholders are invited to note that some of these amendments are already captured in Orders 1 and 2 that were issued to the industry in the third quarter of 2014 before Nigeria’s FAA CAT 1 recertification.
The proposed amendment is the first holistic amendment to the Nig.CARs since inception. “I am optimistic that during these three days of deliberation, the aviation professionals and experts present in this auditorium will assist the Authority to derive a near perfect Regulations for the advancement of Civil Aviation in Nigeria”.
On passengers Bill of Right, Usman said: “We have been training our own people and also the operators on how to handle cases whereby such cases don’t have to come to us.
In the area of enlightenment, we have trained and along with you the media because you have a big role to play in enlightening the general public on their rights. “We have posted strategically at the airports some of those rights.
The only thing we keep appealing is that when they come with those rights, they should come through decent means and not manhandling any of the NCAA staff, airport authority staff, the airline staff and so on.
They should demand for their rights and we are going to stand for their rights and wherever we want to use the big stick, we will use it”, the DG added.
Speaking on the oil marketers selling kerosene as aviation fuel, he maintained that jet A-1 is the highest grade of kerosene and is also a kerosene even though it is not for domestic use, stating that, aviation fuel quality control goes from the department of petroleum to the oil marketers. ‘On NCAA side we do ramp inspection and random checks on fuel qualities that are being supplied’, he stated.
Furthermore, Usman explained that the engineers that release aircraft also do their own checks, while the pilots during re-fuelling do their own checks to ensure that the grade that they get is what is required for safe operations of the aircraft in Nigeria. “So, NCAA as the regulatory body is doing everything possible to ensure that whatever quality of fuel that aircraft use in Nigeria are up to standard”.
On collision of planes at the ramp, the DG assured that: “When we talk about safety, we do not go about talking of criminal and civil liabilities. The most important thing is that when something happens, we try to make sure that it does not happen again and that is why we do that through regulations, surveillance, and inspections to ensure that mishaps do not happen. “But of course we are all humans and accidents do happen unfortunately.
If we investigate them and we make sure that we learn lessons from them to prevent them from happening again”. On debt recovery, he stated that: “I am happy to say that we have a lot of responses from all the debtor airlines.
They are willing to come forward and reconcile their accounts and also make commitments in terms of either in rescheduling and giving us a definite payment plans .So, I am happy to say we are making head way in that direction.
Also, speaking at the workshop, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Hajia Binta Bello said: “I encourage all aspects of civil aviation ably represented here to dig deep into their wealth of knowledge and expertise to make constructive suggestions and inputs that will enhance the quality of the proposed Regulations which will in turn drive the industry forward.
According to her, all amendments to the ICAO standards and recommended practices contained in Annexes 1 to 19 are required to be domesticated for Nigeria to continue to enjoy the pride of place in the comity of nations.
She added that the economic regulations and consumers protections regulations are to be amended to conform to international best practices.
Bello pointed out that all hands must be on deck to ensure a very successful outing for Nigeria in the upcoming ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Program (USOAP) Audit which is scheduled to hold in March 2016.