High Air Accidents: NCAA Intensifies Safety Regulations

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Chinedu Eze

It is feared that 2018 may be a tragic year in aviation history owing to the high air accidents recorded in the first four months.

About 257 persons died on April 11, 2018 in an accident involving Algerian military plane.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said the rising air accidents across the globe, are signs of bad omen, pointing out that Nigeria has recorded series of major and minor air incidents since the beginning of the year.
Director General of NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman however said since the incidents recorded by some domestic airlines, the agency has intensified surveillance and enforcement of regulations to ensure that airlines fly safely in Nigeria.

He said the agency now conducts financial audit of airlines to ensure that they do not compromise their safety standards due to paucity of funds.

“We have zero tolerance for accident and that is what we shall continue to target. We are lucky that in the last two years we have not had any accident involving commercial aircraft in Nigeria; even though since the beginning of this year we have been having incidents and accidents globally, which consumed lives but here we have been lucky that we don’t have such,” Usman said.

He said that carrying out surveillance and enforcing the regulations involve a lot of work- training and retraining of personnel, but it is very critical that the agency ensures that in every way possible accident are averted.
“Enforcing safety regulations involves a lot of hard work and that hard work will be intensified to ensure that we don’t have any mishap. The incidents that we have had, we have taken them very seriously. We have intensified our surveillance and enforcement activities to ensure a very safe aviation in Nigeria. We attack anything that caused an incident or is capable of causing an incident or accident,” the NCAA Director General told THISDAY in an exclusive interview.

He said the regulatory authority is carrying out financial audit of airlines, noting that this is very important to ensure that the airlines do not cut corners.
“We carry out financial audit of airlines. It is normally a pointer to certain things. The more we monitor the finances of airline and feel that it is not robust enough we intensify our monitoring and surveillance to make sure they are abiding by the safety regulations and implementing them fully. We carry out this audit and we take it very seriously,” he said.

Usman said that NCAA has been carrying out safety recommendations made by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and noted that in the past 10 years Nigeria has not recorded any accident caused by bad weather because of the study, investigation and implementation of the safety recommendations which took place after the Sosoliso, Bellview and ADC Airlines accidents, which causes of crash were weather related.

“When I was in AIB we investigated Sosoliso, we investigated Bellview and ADC. Those were the major ones. In the process a lot of recommendations were made, right from the preliminary stage to the interim and to the final report. The accidents were weather related and the safety recommendations which were later implemented include the one that organisations during their training must include the training of crew in the recognition and escape maneuver associated with the weather phenomenon called wind shear because we identified that in those major accidents so it was made mandatory part of initial training for pilots and also recurrent training for pilots.

“In addition, recommendations were made to the effect that certain categories of commercial aircraft must have on-board equipment called wind shear alerting system. So we were proactively looking at wind shear and alerting system so that we take action even before it happens. To the best of my knowledge, those have been implemented and training has been done; equipment on board has been made a requirement. Our aircraft now carries that equipment,” Usman said.