Stakeholders hinge quality operations on service level agreements

PHOTO: Kayak

Until aviation service providers and operators embrace and operate by the rules of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), the industry may continue to lag behind in standards and safer operations.

The stakeholders, who met recently at the quarterly meeting of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) recently in Lagos, bemoaned the poor quality of services on offer in the industry and lack of cooperation between the operators, regulators and the service providers.

Going forward, the group agreed that the ASRTI should ensure and facilitate the signing of SLAs between airlines and various government-owned service providers to ensure that expected Service Level Standards (SLSs) are met to enhance aviation safety.

A SLA is a contract between a service provider and its internal or external customers that documents what services the provider will furnish and defines the service standards the provider is obligated to meet.

The airlines, among others, complained about the quality of navigational services from the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), coupled with the difficulty of interfacing with the providers to get value for money.

Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AIB, Akin Olateru, said there is a difference between giving service and offering a quality service, saying the industry needs to start distinguishing between the two.

“A Ferrari car is a well made car, a good car and a world-class. But, is it a good car for a family of four? No! This is why your airlines must sign an SLA with the service providers, because your need may be different from what someone is providing.

“If you pay for a service, there must be something commensurate. We need to start questioning these services, and the service providers, be it government agencies.

“NAMA gives you air services, but is she meeting your needs? When was the last time you made a request to NAMA to say ‘sorry, this service is not good enough’? We just keep quiet; we take it, it is fine. But it is not. If we want to move the industry forward, we all need to joint our hands to move it forward,” Olateru said.

Director of Operations NAMA, Matthew Pwajok, said the agency is not new to SLAs, saying there are existing agreements with sister service providers like the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

“We are working with the airlines, though there is no such requirement at the moment in terms of an SLA with the airlines. But, you will agree with me that there are minimum service standard requirements for every service provided, though we have not documented that at anytime. But we will work towards that,” Pwajok said.

To address human capital deficiency in Air Navigation and Air Traffic Services, the stakeholders also urged NAMA to engage more with NCAT, and where possible, should sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with relevant specialised training institutions within and outside the country to collaborate on the skills gap in addition to using retired competent professionals to shore up any gap in the interim as done in other climes.

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