DG, NCAA, Harold Demuren
Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, has announced that the Federal Government may adopt the International Air Transport Association (IATA) safety standard, known as IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), as minimum safety operational standard for Nigerian airlines.
What this means is that before a Nigerian airline will be licensed to operate scheduled commercial service, it must have obtained the IOSA certification, which has stringent safety conditions.
Demuren made this known on Tuesday in Abuja during his opening speech at the African Ministerial Meeting on Aviation Safety.
The meeting which ends Friday (today) opened Tuesday in a mourning atmosphere as the event of the Dana Air flight crash in Lagos that killed 153 people on board and others on ground just happened about six weeks ago.
There seemed less to cheer at the event in terms of safety because the continent comes with the unflattering baggage of having the least flight operations and the highest number of air accidents among other regions of the world.
But Demuren said that in spite of the tragic accident on June 3, 2012, Nigeria has operated one million flights and carried 50 million passengers since the last major air crash happened in 2006.
“On June 2, Allied Air, a Nigerian registered cargo aircraft overran the runway in heavy rain, killing 10 commuters in a bus beyond the perimeter fence of the airport in Accra, Ghana. Less than 24 hours later, Dana Air’s flight 0992 crashed in a densely-populated area of Lagos, killing 153 people on board and others on ground.
“These accidents occurred after we had successfully carried 50 million passengers, operated more than one million flights and grown our traffic by almost 40 per cent in the last five and half years,” Demuren said.
The Director General expressed regret that the accident was a devastating blow to Nigeria and a setback to the reform agenda that it is pursuing in the aviation sector. “This clearly underscores the fact that safety is a journey, not a destination. There is only a departure; there is never an arrival with safety,” he added.
He said that African Region and Indian Ocean (AFI Region) would adopt five point safety improvement plans that would provide the tools to improve the picture of safety in Africa because “safety is the greatest watchword for any successful aviation industry.”