By Chinedu Eze

The Deputy Managing Director of Arik Air, Captain Ado Sanusi has called on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to introduce safety audit for air navigation service providers (ANSPs).

Sanusi made the call at the weekend when he met with a team from the world body at the airline’s headquarters in Lagos to review navigational and airport facilities to ensure safe and secure flight operations in Nigeria.

Specifically, Sanusi said IATA should carry out operational audit for ANSPs, just like it has IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) for airlines and IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) for aviation handling companies.

“Although air navigation service providers have Civil Air Navigation Service Organisation (CANSO) which is a global voice for organisations that provide air traffic control but they do not include safety audit in their evaluation of these organisations, so my appeal is for IATA to insist that the audit should be conducted on ANSPs despite the fact that CANSO audits them but their audit does not include operational safety audit for agencies like the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) and others,” Sanusi said.

Speaking at the meeting, the IATA Regional Director, Safety and Flight Operations, Africa and Middle East, Mrs. Tanja Gbobotek, said the role of the world body is to assist member airlines and guide them towards safe and successful flight operations.

IATA said after the review, it would make case for its member airlines by presenting to government and other concerned agencies the challenges facing flight operations in the country to ensure that correctional efforts were made to improve critical infrastructure for flight safety and facilitation.

She noted that the 2012 agreement reached by Ministers of African States in Abuja for African airlines to become IOSA compliant by 2015, known as Abuja Declaration was yet to be met but IATA is working to actualise that goal for the airlines.

It was resolved at the meeting that concerned aviation agencies in Nigeria should improve critical facilities at the airports and noted that some signages are not clearly written for pilots to see and some markings at the taxiways, apron and runways are blurred, while there is retention of water on the taxiway when it rains.

They also agreed that Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) of NAMA ought to improve its service in electronically disseminating flight plan to the airports when sent by the pilots; however, work is still going on the automation of AIS, which would be completed very soon.

Members of the IATA team at the event include
IATA Area Manager, South West, Africa, Mr. Samson Fatoki, Regional Director, Safety and Flight Operations, Africa and Middle East, Mrs. Tanja Gbobotek and Aviation Solutions Manager, South West Africa, Mrs. Atake Ewemade.