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PRESIDENT Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Elder Gabriel Olowo has attributed accident free year in Nigeria to intertwining multiple factors mainly the fact that airlines in the country have started striving to go the extra mile to ensure safety.Olowo who gave a keynote address at the 13th Akwaaba African Travel Market 2017 – Aviation Day concluded that the parameters for safety rests with a responsible operator.
He further said a responsible regulator will not settle for less.
His words,”The necessary and sufficient condition for Safety rests permanently with a responsible Operator and a responsible Regulator will not settle for less”.
On key improvement Paramaters, Olowo identified the use of the IATA Standard Safety Assessment, stating that IATA being an airline association through IOSA have made its members to be principally responsible for Safety and not necessarily the Regulator.
He also said,”Airline members in the strive for safety also do go extra mile to subject itself to audit by other jurisdiction outside its own registration. e.g EASA certification in addition to that of NCAA.”
“Intensified human capital development through routine and schedule
trainings for all, Pilots in particular since pilot error do account for about 80% of all aviation accidents. Implementation of safety management system (SMS).”
According to his submissions, more budget is set aside for maintenance and dedicated account for maintenance reserve as accident is planned through neglect / poor maintenance.
“That is not all, operators are successfully moving to newer and
younger fleets with lower operational and maintenance cost.Thanks to fund availability at low costs through financial institutions. More Economic Lease/Purchase Conditions from aircraft suppliers.”
“Continued advocacy for improved Aviation infrastructure.”
On regulation he surmised that acceleration of ICAO Safety related standard and recommended practices is also a key factor for safety and an accident free year.
He went on, “Autonomous CAAs with less and less government interference resulting to more efficient regulation. IOSA becoming part of airline certification process. It is voluntarily compulsory.”
It is indicative to point out that at least 1,312 lives have been lost to 10 air accidents in Nigeria since 1969, showing that the sector loses an average of 27 lives per annum to air disaster in the country.
Recall that between 2005/2006 Nigeria as a nation suffered a spate of devastating accidents that put the nation on the spotlight for all the negative reasons causing government to undergo the series of reforms that led to the birth of the AIB.
Also speaking at the event, the Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, the Head, Public Affairs, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) in his analysis, said that Nigeria was benefitting from a long process of change after the triple air crashes of 2005 and 2006, which enveloped the sector.
Oketunbi, however, declared that it takes a long time for a systematic errors to be changed, stressing that if the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was effective, the industry would move forward.
He explained that as a result of the economic challenges in most countries, most airlines would want to cut corners, but a responsible CAA would curb such sharp practices among the airlines.
He added that the industry in Nigeria had witnessed relative stability due to the contribution of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which came out with the policy of ‘No Country is Left Behind.’
He said: “AIB became an autonomous body about 10 years ago and since then, we have undergone some tests. The soft belly of the industry is exposed during accident and investigations. Even before an accident report is out, the safety recommendations are being implemented by the airlines.
“Also, the report of accident investigations has influenced safety in the industry, not only in Nigeria, but the industry as a whole. ICAO needs to be commended too because safety is not a one man show. ICAO is working with Nigeria; AIB and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to promote safety in the industry and gaps which were hitherto opened are now being closed.”