Declare emergency in aviation sector, panel tells FGAviation, Latest Politics Monday, July 30th, 2012
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The investigative panel set up by the Ministry of Aviation to review operations in the aviation industry has asked the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the sector in order to tackle its deficiencies.
The panel headed by Group Captain John Obakpolor (retd) while submitting its report to the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, in Abuja on Friday said a state of emergency was required to check decayed infrastructure in the sector.
It also said N500bn was required by airlines to address some of the deficiencies in their operations.
Obakpolor said, “At the end of its deliberations, the committee came up with 59 findings and 41 recommendations, in line with the terms of reference.
“The Federal Government should immediately declare an emergency in the aviation sector and commence implementation of the Aviation Safety Emergency Programme.
“To adequately perform their duties, it is important that the NCAA inspectors should have continuous training to ensure that they have the qualification, operational or technical work experience compatible with the operations that they are required to certify or inspect and that their qualification compares favourably with those of operators’ personnel they will encounter in their operation.
“NCAA should ensure that airline operators are put under closer surveillance. Maintenance actions carried out by operators, if not routine, should always be queried to establish what necessitated the maintenance action and ensure the continuous proper use of the technical logbook.”
He added, “The Federal Government should intensify efforts to complete the ongoing reconstruction and remodelling of the terminal buildings and structures, as well as construct new ones across the country.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria should empower commercial banks to create a window for a long-term low interest funding for direct lending to aviation. The industry will require at least N500bn for this purpose.
“An aircraft leasing company with an initial investment of $10bn should be set up by the Federal Government to acquire modern aircraft directly from major manufacturers and lease to qualified Nigerian air operators at preferential rates. This will help in the reduction of operating cost and improvement of efficiency and competitiveness.”
The panel recommended that greater emphasis should be placed on proper and adequate maintenance of aircraft, rather than age restriction.
Receiving the report, Oduah assured that the Federal Government would holistically study it and implement the recommendations to the letter.
The minister said, “I want to believe that the report which is coming one week late will stand the test of time as it has addressed the long decay and the challenges the industry had faced over the years.
“We totally agree that we need to have a state of emergency in aviation because if you have an industry where infrastructure are in a decayed situation because they have been neglected for years, we need to change them to be in compliance with international standards and procedures.”
She added that the nation must work in line with global standard policies and procedures.
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