Arik Air, Aero Contractors and Firstnation Airways are three Nigerian airlines that have successfully obtained International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit Certification according to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
This is just as the regulatory body has revealed that Allied Air and Cargo services, Overland Airways and Dana Air are on the verge of attaining the IOSA certification, while Air Peace has done its last workshop but is about to be audited.
The IATA Operational Safety Assessment (IOSA) certificate is issued to airline after a successful assessment and demonstration of compliance to Safety Regulations as specified by the world airline body.
This disclosure is coming on the heels of a visit by an IATA team led by the newly appointed Regional Director for Africa, Tanja Grobotek, who paid a familiarization visit to the Director General NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman at the Aviation House recently.
IOSA certification is an aspect of the Abuja Declaration of 2012 that would aid produce safer skies for African airlines and Grobotek stated only recently, “IATA remains focused on its commitment to actively contribute its expertise and resources to help African Nations implement the standards outlined in the Abuja Declaration. One such area is the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), a proven tool for raising safety. IATA has worked with a number of airlines in Africa to bring them onto the IOSA registry. Eleven have joined since the Abuja Declaration was signed, which means 31 airlines from sub-Saharan Africa now benefit from this rigorous safety audit.”
Nigerian airlines now have three added to the ranks with more on the way.
However, the new Regional Director has condemned in strong terms, Nigeria’s Consumer Protection Council’s (CPC) incursion into aviation regulatory responsibilities of the NCAA with reference to the recent issue of passengers’ complaint with Turkish Airlines.
She disclosed that IATA is taking up the matter with the Hon Minister of State for Aviation for proper delineation of Agency roles to avoid a breach of Aviation Protocols in Nigeria saying, ”a situation whereby our member Airlines that are by International Conventions answerable to NCAA are now being questioned by another Body in Nigeria is confusing and need to be addressed”.
While commending NCAA for a long-standing collaboration with IATA on operational safety, she expressed optimism in seeing more airlines obtain IOSA certification which will be a boost to the industry.
Speaking further, she hinted that there are roundtable conferences on the impacts of environment on Aviation under the leadership of ICAO in which Nairobi and Nigeria have been tipped in Africa to host. This is slated for 10th March, 2016.
Other issues discussed include proposed meeting with upcoming operators in order to raise their safety level and also on the need for transition from Aeronautical Information System [AIS] to Aeronautical Information Management [AIM].
IATA Area Manager (South West Africa),Samson Fatokun who accompanied the visiting Regional Director also stated that there are training programmes lined up for NCAA by IATA this year which he hopes will be approved by the Authority.
The DG, Capt. Muhtar Usman, in his response, thanked the IATA team for their visit. He expressed willingness to partner with IATA on issues of Safety, Security and Training
The DG said that the regulatory Authority has already transited from AIS to AIM and that staff of the Authority had undergone training on implementation.
According to the DG, ‘’Safety is not by accident but a product of sufficient planning’’. Hence, NCAA is ever committed to work with IATA on training which is key to safety and security. These trainings will be domesticated where necessary for cost effectiveness.
The IATA team included its Aviation Solutions Manager (South West Africa) Ewemade Atake.
With the DG were some top management staff of the Authority which included the Director of Air Transport Regulations, Mr Ogidi Justus – Wariya, Director of Consumer Protection, Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi, Director of Finance and Accounts, Alhaji Nuhu-Ozigi , Technical Assistant to the DG, Engr. Ben Tukur, GM Public Relations ,Mr Sam Adurogboye and others.