Nigeria’s foremost aviation non-governmental organization (NGO), Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) has proposed various measures by aviation stakeholders that could advance the safety of Nigeria’s airspace.
A communiqué issued after the recent ASRTI Quarterly Business Breakfast Meeting held in Lagos with the theme, Safety Challenges In Air Navigation And Air Traffic Services Delivery In Nigeria, recommends that “to address the human capital deficiency in Air Navigation and Air Traffic Services, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) should engage more with NCAT and where possible, should sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with relevant specialized training institutions within and outside the country to collaborate on the skills gap in addition to using retired competent professionals to shore up any gap in the interim as done in other climes.”
It adds that “efforts should be made by NAMA to avoid the use of unlicensed Air Traffic Engineers and Air Traffic Controllers working independently without the appropriate supervision of licensed Engineer/Controller. The supervision must be at all times even after the On the Job training (OJT).”
ASRTI equally recommends that “the Federal Ministry of Aviation should be scrapped while the various aviation agencies should report directly to the Ministry of Transportation as obtained in advanced climes to avoid political interference in professional aviation activities. This will enable professionals in the industry do their jobs effectively while enhancing safety of the Nigerian airspace. A 10-Year Marshal Plan for the development of Nigeria’s aviation industry, featuring enhancement of safety infrastructure and increased investment in the sector should be produced by stakeholders.”
“There is a need for Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to be proactive and innovative towards airspace regulation, as weakness or failure of a regulatory body leads to many incidents while it is the accumulation of incidents that ultimately leads to air accidents.
Aircraft Operators should inform both NCAA and AIB promptly about their records of incidents and serious incidents as part of efforts to prevent actual accidents. NCAA should always share any operational occurrence from the operator with AIB or better still, include AIB as a recipient in the Mandatory Occurrence Report (MOR).
There is a desperate and urgent need for NAMA to accelerate efforts towards ensuring that its Communications Infrastructure challenges are resolved rapidly in addition to establishing Air traffic Control Centres (ACC) in Abuja and Port Harcourt so that pilots flying within the Nigerian airspace do not fly blind spots as this is very unsafe,” states the communique.
ASRTI further proposed that “NCAA should implement the Safety Recommendations issued by Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) to advance the safety of Nigerian airspace” and that “ NCAA must live up to its constitutional mandate and responsibilities as regards oversight and regulatory activities related to Nigeria’s airspace management.”
It encouraged NAMA to continue with the infrastructure strategy in place which ensures that existing and future CNS/ATM facilities are harmonized and integrated to upscale its capacity to deliver its published services and called for a creation of a fund for aviation development, out of which NAMA’s infrastructure and human capital needs can be met.
There was a consensus at the meeting that “ASRTI should ensure and facilitate the signing of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between airlines and NAMA and between airlines and various government owned service providers to ensure that expected Service Level Standards (SLSs) are met and this will help to enhance aviation safety.”