The United States federal aviation administration has given Nigerian airlines a 65-day ultimatum to resolve specified security issues or risk being barred from flying to its country.
A team of US FAA officials who recently carried out an audit for the renewal of Nigeria’s category one safety status gave the ultimatum on August 24.
The US FAA periodically checks foreign airports with which it has bilateral agreements to ensure they meet set standards.
The checks include having effective and efficient aviation regulations, operational state civil aviation systems and safety oversight functions and technical personnel qualification and training.
Others include the provision of technical guidance, tools, provision of safety-critical information, licensing, certification, authorisation and approval obligations.
A member of the aviation industry think tank, Aviation Round Table (ART), John Ojikutu, and CEO of Centurion Securities, told Nigeria’s BusinessDay newspaper that he doubts if Nigeria can attain the category one safety status without having its major airports certified.
Ojikutu said airport certification is compliant to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCAR) Part 12.6.4, which carries obligations on the operator to continuously maintain standards and competence in operation and ensuring availability of skilled manpower in sufficient numbers, for the periodic maintenance of the facilities and the system.
“Many stakeholders would probably be asking; what is the necessity for the certification when the industry was already classified category one?” he said.
“What many do not know, however, is that the classification of Nigeria as Category one, was meant only for the NCAA Regulations and oversight competence, the way university academic programs are rated or accredited by the Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC).
“Unfortunately, the NCAA is like a university that has been long accredited but has not been able to graduate a student. The NCAA, in spite of its category one status classification in 2010 and even today in 2017 after its reclassification, has not been able to give certification to a single airport among the over 28 federal and state airports in the country.”