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Muhtar clarifies on air returns, advises information managers on incidents, accidents

Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Muhtar Usman,  has said that air returns are standard safety procedures that should be encouraged and not blown out of proportion to maintain the sanity of the industry.

NCAA DG,  Cpatain Muhtar Usman

This is even as he has called on all Public Relations/Information managers of all the aviation agencies, local and foreign airlines to do a critical review of information dissemination during accidents and incidents.
He advocated this view while delivering his keynote address during the maiden meeting of all the information managers in the industry.
Muhtar who was particular about air returns as a concept urged the Nigerian media to be cautious while reporting the occasional air returns if and when they occur to avoid creating unnecessary panic among air travellers.
He said, “Air return and taxi return are flight return terms used to describe a situation where a Pilot-In-Command (PIC) has made a determination to return to gate at the departure airport.
Air Return can therefore be occasioned when the Pilot suspects or has ascertained that an aircraft has developed a technical fault.  Not only that, an in-flight situation may have arisen that makes it impossible to progress the flight to the destination airport.”
“When this happens, the Pilot has acted according to the Standards and Recommended Practices
 (SARPs) in the global aviation. It is not a dire situation but a safety precautionary measure exercised to save the souls on board the aircraft.”
On the dissemination of information the NCAA boss told the information managers present to tinker with the subsisting approach of information flow when there is an accident or incident.
Usman called for an integrated and unified approach among all information managers during emergencies.
He said “we should put on the table a synergy and a robust working relationship within this group. When I say all of you this includes the public relations apparatchik of NCAA.”
“If we commence integrated information, there will be a concerted approach when there are accidents and incidents. On the reality, airline operations worldwide are not without its fair share of incidents.”
The DG continued, the public character of aviation imposes on it a dual role. Commercial airlines should advance their private interest, stimulate growth and compete in the realms of operations. However, this should be done within the stipulates of NCAA’s regulations.
In Nigeria today, we have 30 certified air operators, over 400 in-service aircraft registered in Nigeria. In addition, there are about 46 corporate jets, 130 helicopters and 100 foreign registered private jets.
Usman used the opportunity to assure Nigerians that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will continue to progressively strengthen oversight responsibilities to entrench safe and secure air transportation in the country.

He reminded the airlines to clear all outstanding indebtedness as the regulatory Authority will soon commence severe sanctions on all defaulters.

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