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Equally within the period, the country has been able to record 40per cent in its traffic growth.
This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, in his welcome address at the just concluded African Air Transport Ministerial Meeting on aviation safety in Abuja.
The development came even as he appealed to political classes in various African countries to desist from using their positions to coerce civil aviation authorities on the continent to issue Air Operators Certificates (AOC) to airlines without following due process.
He said this type of political interference, which put a question mark on the image of the various African countries as regards air safety, should be stopped henceforth.
Demuren, who lamented how the June 2nd and 3rd accidents in Kotoka Airport in Accra, Ghana and DANA Air crash in Lagos marred what would have been Nigeria’s six years of accident free air transport, however, maintained that air transport still remained the safest.
While attributing the sad experience to the fact that safety was a journey and not a destination, he declared; “there is only a departure, there is never an arrival with safety.”
Recalling an earlier Africa Safety Summit organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) where a five point safety improvement plan was adopted, the NCAA director-general urged all the 33 African countries and 28 directors-general present at the Abuja aviation safety conference to adopt the earlier safety improvement plan.
According to him, the need to adopt the five point safety improvement plan became necessary as it would only give all the African countries chance to improve the picture of safety on the continent.
Demuren, while describing safety as the greatest watchword for any successful aviation industry, dropped the hint that Nigeria had concluded plans to make mandatory for all domestic airlines in the country to comply with the IATA’s International Air Safety Operational Audit (IOSA).
He used the occasion to appeal to African airlines to join the premium league by embracing alliances such as interlining and code sharing which he said IOSA encouraged for the purpose of making airline business more seamless for the African airlines.
“Our airlines should join the premium league by striving to meet all IOSA’s requirements as this will allow them to have equal opportunities to compete with the mega carriers”, he added.
The NCAA Chief, who urged African countries not to be discouraged no matter the various challenges, declared: “We must forge ahead; above all, we must not be discouraged. Collaboration and cooperation among African States must expand and continue; we may experience bumps on the road as we have, but those bumps cannot and must not be the end of the road.”Share