TO sustain zero accident in aviation , reviewing and strengthening economic regulation, improve consumer protection and a continuous prioritization of training for the industry are part of the 4 point agenda for 2017 spearheaded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) according to the words of the aviation regulatory body.This is just as the regulatory body declined to comment on growing concerns alleging the agency’s complacency in various infractions in the industry from the accusations of the NCAA’s complicity regarding staff salaries at Arik Airline, with the airline owing it staff 7 months which led to an industrial crisis before the it ‘waded’ in to its inability to act on the Abuja runway situation before it became a public relations nightmare.
Director General of the agency, Capt. Muhtar Usman, who spoke in a media parley before responding to questions enumerated challenges, achievement and projections for the industry at the NCAA Annex while calling for support and constructive criticisms with solutions to perceived problems.
The NCAA boss said it was sustaining zero accidents through an increase in safety oversight, wider and more regular surveillance, stringent enforcement of regulation as well as appropriate sanctions to apply.
Usman also said that in reviewing and strengthening economic regulation, the NCAA would ensure that the regulations were much more far-reaching and stated that airlines operational books will be cited with increased regularity .
The DG talked on the area of improved consumer protection stating that its Consumer Protection Department will be highly motivated, as well as be visible at the airports and would work with security agencies to stem passengers’ rage which has become a new phenomenon in the airports due to the high level of airline disappointments also resolve complaints arising faster.
Usman further harped continuous prioritization of training stating that training remains a key project of the NCAA as all staff must be trained local or foreign where applicable to accelerate of next generation of professionals and cement the industry replacement for ageing
However, Muhtar, while responding to questions from the media on various infractions as believed the regulatory body is culpable of gave a diplomatic response of stepping up its activities in the new year to ensure that certain lapses are fixed.
On how the NCAA stated that it carried out economic audits at a time when a domestic carrier, Arik Air was owing 7 months’ salary, a situation that was liable to cause safety issues, the top aviation cop said that the CAA would step up its oversight functions especially economic.
He also stated that he was not willing to join issues with dissenting voices that have called for his sack over the last few months, stating that he would not be distracted as those people were some of them, his senior colleagues and he would not join issues with them.
On the closure of the Abuja runway and NCAA’s culpability in not carrying out its regulatory function before the ministry stepped in to shut the runway Muhtar said,” The issue of Abuja Airport, NCAA is a regulatory agency, we have the airport operator and our role is to ensure that the airport operates on a safe manner . If the operator applies that they want to fix the airport in view of the bad runway over the years, the runway has deteriorated to the level it can no longer do a spot repair and the damage has become extensive and so you have to close down the runway.”
“NCAA is always on the side of safety, we Kaduna is the alternate choice because of runway length, takeoff and landing facilities and all that. The repairs are something that should be done. “