CHAIRMAN House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji has stressed the need for more funding of the aviation agencies to enable them cope with the increase in demands for air travel following incidents of bird strikes last week suffered by Aerocontractors and Max Air.
Honourable Nnaji canvassed funding in Abuja on Monday during an interaction between the committee and the heads of agencies led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Engineer Hassan Musa.
According to him, there was an urgent need to investigate claims of engine failure and bird strikes that almost caused the serious incidents of aircraft departing Kano and Port Harcourt Airports to Abuja respectively.
The House in plenary had mandated the committee on aviation to summon the Ministry and its agencies to give clarifications on the two incidents to avoid a major disaster in future.
The chairman demanded assurances from the team which included the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA) Captain Musa Nuhu, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN), Captain Rabiu Yadadu, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, (NAMA), Captain Fola Akintotu, and the Commissioner Accident Investigation Bureau, (AIB) Engineer Akin Olateru that flying was still safe.
He stressed that the insecurity in the country has placed high premiums on air travel which required that the Ministry and the agencies need to do more to sustain the safety records the country has achieved in that past years.
The permanent Secretary assured that the problem of bird strike was a world-wide phenomenon and the several studies have proved that it doesn’t pose much threat to safety.
His assertion was corroborated by the trio of Captain Musa Nuhu of NCAA, Captain Rabiu Yadudu of FAAN and the Commissioner Accident Investigation Bureau, Engineer Akin Olateru.
Captain Yadudu specifically stated that bird strikes impacts negatively more finances of airlines than safety, adding that it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometimes up to a million to replace an engine damaged by bird strike.
The heads of the agencies especially the Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Yadudu explained that a lot of funding is needed to upgrade some of the aviation facilities including the bird strikes control equipment.