From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
The executive chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison has faulted the proposal calling on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to carry out inspection of aircraft within he country after they have been flow into Nigeria.
Meggison said such bogus proposal may affect the safety and development of the aviation sector as aircraft that do not fit into the Nigerian CAA specifications in terms of airworthiness could be flown in.
He said the usual practice where, aircraft safety inspectors from the NCAA, travel to the maintenance facility or the manufacturers facility or country of sale to carry out the necessary check on the aircraft before being flown into Nigeria is better as of aviation today.
He said defects or faults found by NCAA inspectors on any aircraft requiring rectification could be carried out at the seller’s or C Check Maintenance Repair Organization (MRO), before such planes are flown into Nigeria.
He also said allowing NCAA inspectors to travel to the place where the aircraft is originating from would not only give the inspectors technical exposure on the job, but would allow them carry out detailed checks on the air plane before it is brought into Nigeria.
Meggison said the availability of aircraft repair organizations (MRO) n the country where such aircraft are based or repaired would enable the NCAA inspectors to point out defects that could easily be fixed out there.
He mentioned that if any aircraft with technical defects or lacks ompliance with airworthiness directive is flown into Nigeria, without
NCAA inspectors being given the opportunity to inspect them before importation into Nigeria, it could become a problem for both the regulator (NCAA) and the affected operator (whether commercial or private).
The AON chairman stated that the AON, has not been officially notified by the so – called operators or individuals “who are pushing for aircraft to be inspected locally, saying that such call may not mean well for the industry . He said allowing such proposal to see the light of day may have adverse consequences on the safety and standard of aviation in Nigeria.
Meggison observed that though the heavy cost borne by airline operators for aircraft inspection by NCAA could be reduced through buying of economy seat tickets for the officials as opposed to the current arrangement when the airlines are expected to provide a business class ticket, this traveling cost should be reduced.
Captain Meggison said airlines are already paying 5% fees on all ticket sales to NCAA, the authority should subsidize or pay for inspection fees from this funds as this would encourage airlines to bring in more aircraft, which will increase capacity in the industry and give the regulatory agency an opportunity to earn more revenue from airlines.
Such significant reduction in inspection fees, Meggison said would reduce the financial burden of airlines, who are currently operating in a high costs environment.
This call for cancelation of pre-arrival inspection is not in the best interest of the aviation industry today.
It creates room for all findings to be rectified at the maintenance facility, which we do not have in Nigeria.
This is one of the reasons why AON has been clamoring that government should facilitate the establishment of an aircraft maintenance repair organization (MRO) in Nigeria.