Director General of NCAA, Dr Harold Demuren
To have up-to-date checks on the safety of aircraft and how it is being operated by a pilot while in the air, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Thursday said it would soon unveil the Aircraft Flight Information System, which would provide every data on the aircraft in the airspace and also feed information of whatever is happening to the aircraft to installed system outside the aeroplane.
This was disclosed by the Director General of NCAA, Dr Harold Demuren, during the inaugural flight of Med View Airlines at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
Demuren explained that each commercial aircraft in Nigeria must have the system installed and airlines have already started installing the equipment.
“It will be installed on each aeroplane that is flying and we are going to have data control for all the airlines and also with NCAA. What is good is that we are improving our airlines to meet their obligations; we are improving them so that they have a very good dispatch. Even when they are flying and there is a problem they will know what the problem is,” the Director General explained.
He also said the concern about what happened to an aircraft, whether the aircraft had snags (technical problems) and others would be answered by the equipment which collects the needed data while the aircraft is airborne.
“A lot of you are concerned during the last plane crash and needed answers to these questions: Was the airplane bad before the crash? Was there any snag on the plane?
“Now it is going to be fully automated with sophisticated equipment on board. And what it is going to do is that it is going to be filing flight data recorders (DFR) every hour automatically while the aircraft is flying.”
It is not a question of saying we didn’t see FDR. And then it has the capacity to record all exigencies, if there is any snag or engine failure it picks it immediately.
“So whether the pilot reports such problems or not we will pick it up automatically. And then it has animation, you will exactly know how the aeroplane flies; that was what was missing in the last plane crash and there were too many insinuations and speculations. Now, it is going to be over and forever in Nigeria.”
On the high fares on domestic routes, he said the problem would soon be solved as new airlines are now being certified to start operation, although they must have to go through rigorous process before they are given Air Operating Certificate (AOC).
“But now, we are getting other operators to come in. AOC certification is a tough business and it takes a long time to get it. Med-View has been on it for about 18 months and they had to fly their aeroplane for 50 hours without carrying passengers. They have flown 50 hours and 45 minutes and we are very happy they have finished, they are now happy coming on board. And like I said, we want to ensure zero accident, zero fatality.”
Demuren also disclosed that other airlines would also join the domestic market as Dana Air has finished demonstration flight and is waiting for certification.
“They (Dana Air) flew 50 hours and about 30 minutes without passengers in their flight demonstration. I believe they are doing their compliance right now and where they are is in stage five and then we will be able to take it from there.”