- Says AON got it wrong on partial runway closure
BARELY 24 hours after the sack of some chief executives of aviation industry parastatals by Federal Government, immediate past President of Aviation Round Table (ART) Capt. Dele Ore has openly called for the removal of the Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, saying that he had performed below expectations since he was appointed the helmsman of the regulatory agency.
The onetime Director of Operations of the defunct Nigeria Airways who castigated the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) over its regulations of the industry in recent time made the call yesterday at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos during an interaction with aviation correspondent.
According to Ore, Usman had stopped training in the agency while issuance of licensing to aircraft crew in recent time was not up to international standards, adding that the department had unqualified personnel.
He said: “What has the Director-General of NCAA done? Training has been stalled in NCAA. The weakest link of this industry is licensing and before our license becomes ‘Oluwole’, I believe we need to do something about it. A weak Director-General is the one that will allow anything to go in the licensing department. When a DG does not sit in Lagos and Nigeria, how does he plan for his succession? This man is not always on seat.
“What about the AOC they issued to airlines in recent years? The system was weak and is still weak. A system to allow people who are not qualified to have AOCs to have it is a very rotten system.
“At a time, we reached 97 per cent in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rating audit, but now, we now have reached 65 per cent, but let us remember that in this industry, the pass mark is 65 per cent in anything we do and we are happy. Demuren raised the standard so high, but it has been lowered gradually over the years. We are in the minimum requirement now and I made bold to say so. We need a stronger leadership in NCAA.”
Ore, specifically warned that if the regulatory authority does not tighten up the regulation of the industry, it will eventually lead to the collapse of civil aviation in Nigeria.
On the planned closure of Abuja Airport runway, Ore described the decision of the Federal Government as a right step thus expressing disappointment in the statement credited to the leadership of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), that canvassed for the partial closure of the runway.
He said, “I want to pitch my tent with the current Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi that the airport should be closed. We have no choice than to support the government on the closure of the Abuja Airport runway. Abuja airport should be closed until it meets international standards and we must also hasten up for a second parallel or across runway at the airport.”
In his words, “AON got it wrong and they talked as if they were amateurs. We are not all stupid in this country.”
He argued that Nigerians should learn from the Hydro Cargo Airline crash, adding that Kaduna has always supported by hajj operations in the past.
According to him,” Hydro cargo accident on Abuja Airport, costs this nation a huge amount of money and the government at that time didn’t even allow NCAA or FAAN or any other agencies to contest it. Some people made away with that money because insurance has already paid hydro cargo some amount of money.”
He continued, “That same mistake is to be repeated if we allow work to be going on the same runway; half of it, aircraft will be landing. In aviation, we have the take-off run that is going to lead you to decision speed, which states that if anything goes wrong, you can abandon the take-off, but if you are not able to stop on the runway, depending on your decision and all that, we have the stop way. That stop way must be long enough to stop the weight of that aircraft.”
Ore said that there is a connecting train from Kaduna to Abuja that makes Kaduna better than Kano and Minna, adding that Kano is 1,560 feet above sea level while Kaduna is 2,000 feet above sea level
He urged the Federal Government should mobilize portable Instrument Landing System (ILS)to Kaduna and other navigational aids to the airport throughout the during of the repairs at Abuja Airport.