Flight Resumption: NCAA Host Meeting To Ensure Smooth Operation.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), yesterday night gathered stakeholders in the aviation industry to discuss and access the preparedness of operators billed to resume domestic flights in Nigeria on Wednesday, July 8th, 2020.

The Director General of NCAA,Captain Musa Nuhu who anchored the meeting in a Zoom webinar meeting revealed that airlines are 94.44% prepared; Domestic airports are 87 %; Ground Handlers 75%; Aviation Security >75%; while Air Traffic Organisations(ATOs) and Approved Maintenance Organisations(AMOs) are both above average.

The General Manager –Air Operator Certification and Surveillance of NCAA, who further explained the preparedess in the aviation industry rated  the Nigeria Air Space Management Agency (NAMA), 91% prepared in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port-Harcourt, Owerri and Uyo Airports; NiMet is 93% prepared in the six airports;Lagos (MMIA GAT & MM2) 92.85%, Kano 89%, Port-Harcourt 85%,  Abuja, 89%, Uyo 82% and Owerri 78%.

The level of preparedness of the eight (8) scheduled operators namely; Aero Contractor Co. Nigeria Limited; Air Peace Limited; Arik Air Limited, Azman Air, Dana Airlines, Ibom Air, Max Air Limited, and Overland’s Airways Limited is 94.44%, Engr Balang continueded.He urged airline operators put the guidelines into practic as they are realities we have to face, adding that the idea of the protocols is to ensure safe travels and to also remind people of the public health

.“Airlines should be deliberate on how it will manage risk in this period, it should not be reactive but proactive.

Risk assessment should be based on actual content and I implore all to use the guidelinesAnswering questions, the NCAA DG made some clarifications and assured that the Authority will do its best to control the crowds at the terminals especially the Lagos airport, and urged airlines to provide their schedule to NAMA to avoid delays in landing.

He said enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines inside the aircraft, he stated that it is the duty of the airlines, as NCAA is only there to monitor.“One can be denied entry into the the airport terminal or ejected from the flight and so on, we will monitor and anywhere we see gaps, we will take actions. NCAA will not accept impunity and disregard for regulations.

It is a collective responsibility and everybody must stand up and play their roles , NCAA cannot do everyone’s job.“A lot of people are watching Nigeria’s effort ahead of this reopening and we did our work in-house. if we work as a team and get our acts together, we will take the industry to a greater height. 

There is a huge potential in the aviation industry  but we need to wake up. Yes, NCAA is at the centre but we need to work together to ensure that Nigeria benefits from the potential in the industry”, he said.Captain Nuhu noted that flight delays are inevitable, as no operator wants to delay a flight, adding that they will work to minimize delays.

On  resumption of International flights, Nuhu said the concentration is strictly to commence local flights but work has started on protocols for international flights, as international operations is significantly more different than domestic.

He stated, “even if international flights open, it doesnt make sense as nobody is coming in and nobody is going out.”Speaking, the Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Captain Fola Akinkuotu, revealed that the Agency wrote to all airlines to submit possible schedule but only Azman,Arik and Max Air responded, noting that the low response makes it difficult to plan on flight sequencing and frequency.

“We plan to discuss everything with FAAN to know how much space are in the departure and arrival terminal. We will ensure that nobody is disadvantaged, and if need be, we will draw straws on who goes first but we can’t make scientific decisions with the kind of data we have. NAMA can only work with airlines that have complied”, he said.

He assured that there will be no chaos Wednesday and it will be in the interest of the airlines to submit their schedule to ensure proper planning.On technology he stated, “We are in the process of deploying on our clearance portal and to link our clients on a payment platform to reduce physical contact.

We will leverage on technology as much as possible to make it easier for our clients to get services”, he ended.In his comment, the Managing  Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria(FAAN), Captain Rabiu Yadudu, noted that they don’t intend to have their lounges filled up, adding that they are trying to maintain a capacity that will be 100 percent in the terminal.

“We are working to expand the Lagos airport, to fix issues there and we will ensure that there is no issues in Lagos”, he stated.According to the Sight News reports, Captain Roy Ilegbodu, Managing Director, Arik Air noted that COVID-19 has impacted the aviation industry on a scale it has not seen before and urged everyone to remain prepared to continue to learn and adapt as they go.

In his contribution Dr. Samson Fatokun- of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), who restated IATA’s support to Nigeria said that many nations are watching Nigeria to see how the country will fare with this reopening, adding that compliance of all stakeholders to protocols is important.(Outlook media).

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