The Challenges Of SAATM Implementation, By Nigeria’s DGCA
The Director General, Civil Aviation, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu has highlighted the challenges confronting the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) implementation.
Speaking in an interview during the recent 7th Aviation Africa Summit held in Abuja, Nuhu said: “Well, there are quite a few challenges about SAATM. Since the new Secretary General, Ms. Adefunke Adeyemi of Nigeria became AFCAC Secretary General, she has done excellently well. She is really promoting SAATM and we can see changes coming. Maybe slowly, but it is a start. It is coming. To me, one or two of the main issues we have with SAATM is that we compare ourselves with Europe but Europe has one regulatory body, EASA. In Africa we have 24 different regulatory bodies with 24 different regulations. So, this makes it difficult until we Africans learn to be one, have a single regulatory body like EASA.
Then if you are coming from a country with a requirement and you come to Nigeria, I start giving you another requirement that is a very difficult thing to do; and in Europe, they have one political organization, the European Commission. They make their policies and it is applicable to all but here, everybody does his own policies and go their own way. Honestly, unless we find a way to resolve these issues, even if SAATM is implemented, it is not going to achieve its potential.”
Nuhu further stated that “we have started informally talking to some DGs of some four, five countries to see how we can look at our regulations to have some kind of harmonization between these countries. Do you know what it does if you have harmonization? We will do training together. There are many things we can do together. If an airline is coming from Country A to Country B and we have harmonization, it is like a local flight. So, to me, that is the way to go. We want to start, and I hope we are able to hit the ground on that and when other countries see that it is succeeding, everybody wants success. Everybody will want to join the band.”
On the proliferation of airports across Nigeria, Nuhu said it has become a burden to the aviation agencies in the country.
“We must inspect it and make sure it is okay. NAMA has to employ and train more air traffic controllers. These are things people don’t see; it is a burden on us; and these airports do not even generate money. There are airports that have one or two flights a week. Some are even executive flights. Honestly, we must collectively find a way to deal with that because for me, even as a CAA, it is putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on us.”