Incessant Near Crash Incidents Unacceptable, Says National Assembly

The National Assembly has decried the incessant near crash incidents, flight delays, cancellations and wrong flight plan that have characterized the Nigerian airlines in recent times.

The legislature said that as a prime promoter of safety, efficiency, regularity and economic conduct of flights, such recent negative occurrences in the sector were unacceptable. The law making body also emphasized that the country had been lucky that it had not had major air accidents in the past 10 years, but warned that the recent serious incidents and avoidable errors in the sector by the indigenous airlines called for concerns.

Mr. Abdullahi Garba, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation stated these yesterday in his Goodwill Message at the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Association’s (IFATCA) 34th Africa & Middle East Regional Meeting hosted by the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) with the theme: ‘Shaping the Future: Trends and Insights on ATC Training for Tomorrow.’

Garba challenged the Federal Government and its agencies in the sector to beam their searchlights on the activities of the operating airlines in order to boost travellers’ confidence.

He said: “The significance of the seminar cannot be over-emphasized. It may not be out of place to restate the important role the Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) play in the aviation industry. Nigeria has been lucky that we have not had a major crash incident in over a decade.

“However, the several near crash incidents, including diversion of flight from an intended route to another route without any concrete information leaves much to be desired.”

This NASS committee’s position simply reechoes a report published by AVIATION MONITOR on November 17, 2023 titled FREQUENT OCCURRENCE OF AIRCRAFT INCIDENTS IS NOT A GOOD SIGNAL (See link below).

Garba emphasized that as a committee saddled with the mandate to oversee the aviation sector, it would carry out its duties diligently, support the airlines and other organizations in the industry, but maintained that Nigeria must operate to above the minimum standards and recommended pratices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Garba also appealed to the organizers to share the resolutions from the meeting with the committee in a bid to guide it in making laws that would safeguard not just the country’s airspace, but the entire value chain within the aviation sector. He further canvassed a productive collaboration with NATCA and other associations in the sector for the benefit of the nation and its citizenry.

“I want to say that the theme for this meeting is apt, especially in the face of myriad security threats with adverse implications on the industry,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, Capt. Chris Najomo, the Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), called on the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), to ensure improved payment for ATC personnel.

Najomo, who chaired a panel session at the conference, said that this was necessary to ensure enhanced concentration of ATCs and avert avoidable accidents. He promised to personally take the course of the controllers to the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development for approval.

He regretted that the controllers are over-worked and go through enormous stress in the discharge of their duties, insisting that they require the support of all.

He said: “As pilots, we control just one aircraft at a time, but controllers control a minimum of 10 aircraft at the same time. They need to be well-remunerated, while they are also sent on regular training to update their skills and knowledge.”

Najomo also said that the industry had evolved over the years, maintaining that personnel in the sector could not afford to be stagnant.

Frequent Occurrence Of Aircraft Incidents Is Not A Good Signal

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Albinus Chiedu

Albinus Chiedu is a journalist, aviation media consultant, events management professional, and author. He has practiced journalism since 2000.

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