Air Safety: NCAA Insists on December 2017 Deadline for IOSA

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Chinedu Eze

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said it would abide by the deadline given by African states that by December 31, 2017 all airlines in the region must have the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification.

In 2012 Ministers of Transport in Africa met in Abuja and decided that to stem the frequency of air crashes in the region, airlines operating in the continent must have IOSA safety status, which is the benchmark for global safety management in airlines.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit is a high safety standard programme, which is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline.

Records indicate that frequency of air crashes over the years is less among airlines with IOSA certification than airlines that do not have the safety status.

THISDAY investigations showed that some Nigerian airlines have completed and obtained IOSA certification, while others are still in the process. It is hoped that many of them would have obtained the certification before the deadline.

Spokesman of NCAA, Sam Adurogboye told THISDAY on Wednesday that IOSA compliance is a policy aimed at stimulating the safety and growth of African airlines.

“In a way it is mandatory/voluntary policy and there are so many to be done before that date, such as meetings, dialogue, stakeholders meetings to state the importance and the need for African airlines and ours, Nigerian airlines take the advantage of IOSA programme,” Adurogboye said.

THISDAY gathered that Nigerian airlines that obtained IOSA certification include Arik Air, First Nation Airways, Aero Contractors, Overland Airways and cargo airline, Allied Air. Others including Medview Airline, Air Peace, Dana Air are in the process of obtaining the certification.

IATA said the total accident rate for IOSA carriers between 2011 and 2015 was 3.3 times lower than the rate for non-IOSA operators. As such, IOSA has become a global standard, recognised well beyond IATA membership. As of March 2015, 145 (36 percent) of the 405 airlines on the IOSA registry were non-IATA.

In a recent IATA Day held in Abuja, the IATA Area Manager, South West Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun said IATA has been supporting Nigerian airlines to improve on safety in their operations.

“To break it down to the Nigerian scene, IATA has been supporting the strengthening of safety in Nigeria. We have taken some airlines, most of the domestic airlines through the IOSA preparatory programme, where each one of them had workshops, funded entirely by IATA and these include First Nation, Medview Airline, Allied Air and Air Peace presently. They have all gone through IOSA preparatory programme and this is a programme that was offered by IATA to help them and it goes straight into helping them to do well at IOSA audit and also improve their level of safety,” Fatokun said.

Fatokun remarked that IATA did not stop only on the operators, “five of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority safety inspectors went through series of training organised by IATA so that the regulator should be strengthened in terms of safety oversight. That is what IATA has done in the market; since the past two years we have been rolling that programme to improve safety in Nigeria.

In his major speech at the 2016 IATA Annual General Meeting and Exhibition held in Dublin, Ireland, the former Director-General and CEO of IATA, Tony Tyler said the IATA Operational Safety Audit used by over 400 airlines worldwide now include continuous compliance monitoring, adding that to maintain trust, the quality and integrity of IOSA’s audit standards and processes are constantly reviewed.

“IOSA proves that global standards can drive important safety improvements in Africa. The fatal accident rate for sub-Saharan carriers on the IOSA registry now aligns with the global average. The Abuja Declaration aims to achieve world-class safety in Africa. The continent’s governments must keep their commitments to make IOSA mandatory and implement fully the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and recommended practices.”

Minister Predicts Tourism as Future Crude Oil

Despite the current economic recession, Nigeria’s future is bright, as the country diversifies its economy away from oil, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in Lagos on Tuesday.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 2016 World Tourism Day in Eko Atlantic, the city that is being built on reclaimed land on the Bar Beach, the Minister said there is no better testimony to Nigeria’s bright economic future than the new city.

”It takes an investor to have a great confidence in any economy before putting hundreds of millions of dollars into a city like this. Those who can see the bright stars in our horizon, beyond this temporary cloud of difficulties, are investing in the country even as we speak,” he said.

Mohammed said that as the federal government works day and night to pull Nigeria out of recession and put the country’s economy on the path of sustainable growth, ”it is becoming increasingly clear, like President Muhammadu Buhari has admonished, that we must think out of the box.

”We must find other sustainable means of earning foreign exchange outside of oil, to grow our country’s GDP and create jobs for our people. Agriculture and mining are viable options, but tourism is the low hanging fruit in this regard, and we must not hesitate to pluck it.”

He said the choice of Eko Atlantic City as the venue of the 2016 World Tourism Day celebration is significant, adding: ”While I will like to reiterate Nigeria’s readiness to explore and exploit tourism for the benefit of its economy, I can confidently add that Eko Atlantic City has what it takes to drive tourism in Nigeria. And this is just as well, because while the role of the government will be to provide the enabling environment, the private sector will drive the growth of tourism.”

The Minister called Eko Atlantic City ”a tourist haven” which has what it takes to drive tourism in Nigeria ”The city will boast of 450,000 residents and 300,000 commuters (daily), which is a boon for the myriad of businesses to be located in the city. In addition, it will have a registered Free Economic Zone to encourage economic activities. As you are also aware, shopping malls attract tourists the way bees are attracted to honey. The shopping mall here in Eko Atlantic will be the largest of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. The 10 million square metres of space in the city will also boast of an impressive retail layout for shopping, vast amenities for entertainment, such as food courts, cinemas and
playgrounds, an ample parking space and a canal that can be used for water transportation and water sports.

”Nigerians who are looking for relaxation spots and exquisite shopping malls will no longer need to jet to Dubai and similar destinations, because Eko Atlantic City will be a better destination than Dubai. This is not a joke! Whereas you can only comfortably soak in the sights and sounds of Dubai for a maximum of four months every year due to the prevailing inclement weather there, Eko Atlantic City
offers – in addition to the massive shopping mall – 365 days of sunshine and clement weather. This is an added incentive for foreign tourists. In short, the city will have everything you need for tourism to thrive: security, modern infrastructure, good weather,

uninterrupted power supply, potable water supply, etc,” he said.
Addressing the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day celebration – which is Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility, Mohammed said Eko Atlantic City that is shaping up as one of Nigeria’s top tourist destinations would be accessible all: the rich and the poor, the young and the old as well as men and women.

Quoting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said everyone has the right to access leisure and tourism services on an equal basis, the Minister said the new city would also not discriminate against the
aged and the physically challenged.

He appealed to investors to cash in on the Federal Government’s massive investment in infrastructural development to help turn the country’s numerous tourist sites to tourist attractions.

Earlier, the management of Eko Atlantic made a video presentation of the budding city to the Minister, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State,
Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule (who stood in for Governor Akinwunmi Ambode), their entourage and the media, after which they were all taken on a guided tour of the city, whose first resident is due to
move in next month.

According to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the World Tourism Day has been held annually on September 27th for the last quarter of a century, to foster awareness of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic impact.