The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in conjunction with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has commenced the implementation of the Africa, Indian
Flight Region (AFI) Plan Aerodrome Certification Project for Abuja and Lagos airports.
The objective of the certification is to ensure that the airports, which are the busiest in the country, meet international safety standard.
None of the nation’s airports has been rated by ICAO and other international aviation safety organisations because they have not been certified, and this has lowered the overall safety rating of Nigeria by the international aviation body.
The certification process was disclosed by the Director General of NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman, while addressing his counterparts from the ICAO Western and Central African (WACAF) during the pre -certification meeting at the NCAA Conference Room.
The Regional Director of ICAO WACAF, Mam Sait Jallow, the team leader who was accompanied by the Regional Officer, Nika Manzi, said the objective of this mission is to follow up on the AFI Plan Certification project and assist Nigeria with technical guidance towards the certification process.
According to Jallow, two airports were selected from Nigeria for AFI Plan Aerodrome certification project while one airport was selected from other states in the AFI Region.
The two airports are the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
NCAA said these two airports were chosen due to the volume of traffic in Nigeria, which has the largest passenger traffic in the African continent.
The AFI Plan was adopted by the 36th ICAO Assembly to address the safety status of aircraft operations in the AFI Region.
This plan is meant to address three focal areas which are: to establish and maintain a sustainable oversight system (infrastructure/capacity building); assist states to resolve identified deficiencies within reasonable time; and to enhance aviation safety culture of African aviation service providers.
The ICAO WACAF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NCAA and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as participants in the ICAO AFI Plan Project in Dakar, Senegal on August 11, 2016.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the NCAA Director General affirmed that this project is crucial to global aviation as regards safety and security of the airport environment.
He said the aerodrome certification is in line with the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) and all the necessary instrumentation for the process are already in place.
Usman added that the authority has trained technical personnel who are very competent to handle the challenges that may be encountered during the certification exercise.
In his response, Jallow said the ICAO WACAF meets twice a year and their next meeting is scheduled for May 2017; therefore, all hands must be on deck to achieve a successful certification and present the report during the meeting.
The DG therefore expressed profound appreciation to the ICAO WACAF team for their efforts in providing additional momentum to the aerodrome certification.
He assured the body that Nigeria would meet up with the certification requirements within the stipulated time frame.
The representatives of ICAO WACAF, DG, officials of NCAA, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) later held a meeting at the FAAN Headquarters as part of the Pre-Certification formalities.
After the meeting, all concerned undertook an inspection of facilities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport,(MMIA),Ikeja. The team leaves for Abuja today.