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Published On: Mon, Dec 31st, 2018

Airlines cutting corners to stay afloat – NCAA report

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From Suleiman Idris, Lagos

A report by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has indicated that operating airlines in the fixed wing and rotary wing business arms of the aviation sector engage in sharp practices ranging from deliberate disregard and violation of safety regulations, non-implementation of training programmes of maintenance personnel among others.
The report, made available to our reporter yesterday by NCAA disclosed that four erring operators received various degrees of sanctions from the nation’s regulatory body following the discovery of the violations during a spot inspection by a team of Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI) from NCAA.
Stakeholders had in recent times canvassed for a thorough oversight and economic regulation of operating airlines in Nigeria to ensure they comply with laid down Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
The latest discovery, experts said is a testament to that fact that the industry requires serious safety oversight functions to be carried out regularly in order not to jeopadise safety of the flying public.
According to the report, the dubious acts were also perpetuated by both scheduled and nonscheduled operators.
The NCAA said it has therefore sanctioned four operators for violating the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NigCARs).
Sam Adurogboye, General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, who made the disclosure on Sunday in Lagos, said that those sanctioned included both scheduled and non-scheduled operators. He did not name the operators.
Mr Adurogboye said three of the affected operators were to pay a fine ranging from N1.5 million to N2 million, while the fourth operator had its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) suspended for 180 days.
He said the affected operators were caught when NCAA Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI) visited their premises.
According to him, a number of deficiencies, including non-implementation of training programmes for maintenance personnel as required and irregularities concerning Helicopter flight identification were discovered during the inspection.
“Also discovered were deliberate violation of the regulations, performing maintenance programme without necessary approval and the use of outdated manual.
“Adurogboye said that NCAA has directed that the maintenance personnel be trained immediately.”
The electronic statement further reiterated that “NCAA wishes to re-assure all stakeholders that it will continue to ensure that Standard Operating Procedures [SOPs] are strictly followed.
The authority expects strict compliance with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations in the future and violations will be viewed seriously.” It added.

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