The immediate past president of the Aviation Round Table (ART) and onetime Director of Operations of the defunct Nigeria Airways, Dele Ore, has castigated the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) over its poor regulation of the industry.
Speaking at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos on Monday, Mr. Ore specifically warned that if the regulatory authority does not tighten up the regulation of the aviation industry, Nigerian civil aviation could collapse.
He also openly called for the removal of the Director-General of the NCAA, Muhtar Usman, saying that he has performed below expectations since he was appointed the helmsman of the regulatory agency.
According to Mr. Ore, Mr. Usman stopped training in the NCAA and his issuance of licenses to aircraft crew do not meet international standards. Because of these factors, the NCAA has unqualified personnel on its staff.
“What has the Director-General of NCAA done? Training has been stalled in NCAA. The weakest link of this industry is licensing and before our license becomes Oluwole, I believe we need to do something about it. A weak Director-General is the one that will allow anything to go in the licensing department. When a DG does not sit in Lagos and Nigeria, how does he plan for his succession? This man is not always on seat,” Mr. Ore said.
“What about the AOC [air operator’s certificate] they issue to airlines in recent years? The system was weak and is still weak. A system to allow people who are not qualified to have AOCs to have it is a very rotten system. Nobody could have done that under Dr. Harold Demuren.
“At a time, we reached 97 percent in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rating audit, but now, we now have reached 65 percent, but let us remember that in this industry, the pass mark is 65 percent in anything we do and we are happy. Demuren raised the standard so high, but it has been lowered gradually over the years. We are at the minimum requirement now. We need a stronger leadership in NCAA.”
On the planned closure of the Abuja Airport runway, Mr. Ore described the decision of the federal government as a right step.
He however expressed disappointment in the statement credited to the leadership of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) that canvassed for the partial closure of the runway.
Mr. Ore recalled the Hydro Cargo aircraft accident, which occurred on the same runway some few years back due to the partial closure of the runway.
“AON’s position on the partial closure of Abuja Airport is wrong and they talked as if they were unprofessional and amateurs. We are not all stupid in this country.
“That same mistake is to be repeated if we allow work to be going on the same runway; on half of it, aircraft will be landing. In aviation, we have the takeoff run that is going to lead you to decision speed, which states that if anything goes wrong, you can abandon the takeoff, but if you are not able to stop on the runway, depending on your decision and all that, we have the stop way. That stop way must be long enough to stop the wait of that aircraft,” he said.