Aviation sector reforms under Jonathan

By Post Nigeria February 5, 2015 06:00 Updated

Aviation sector reforms under Jonathan

The Federal Government on Tuesday gave a directive that at least one Nigerian Pilot must be in the cockpit on every commercial operation in Nigeria, effective from this month.

This directive is part of the new aviation reforms unveiled by the Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, in Lagos during the launch of Aviation Commit Initiative, which is aimed at providing better service for customers and improving the revenue that accrues from the aviation sector for the Federal government.

The Federal Government has also directed that the multiple changes levied on commercial airlines by aviation agencies must be reviewed and streamlined, while the exploitative fares charged passengers, including fuel surcharges, must be reviewed downwards.

Chidoka also directed removal of cargo charges on agriculture produce exports in order to encourage exporters and generate foreign exchange, adding that there should be immediate end to commercial operation by privately-owned aircraft.

Chidoka, said any private airline doing commercial operations without regularizing its operations before Thursday February 5 would be grounded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.

As part of the aviation reforms, all agricultural produce meant for export are to be exempted from paying the five per cent cargo charge.

Also, all domestic airlines would be required to train their pilots yearly, as a condition to renewing their Airline Operators’ Certificate, AOC, in addition to abiding by existing regulations

The Minister said, “By the 5th of February, all private registered aircraft in general aviation operation which also provide commercial services will be grounded by the NCAA.

The new Air Traffic Management system under the TRACON project has made significant progress in putting in place radar and other navigational guidance systems that addressed the gaps in the country’s air navigational coverage. The country now has functional, sophisticated navigational aids and well equipped control towers to its credit.

Last year, the Nigerian Aviation sector was able to record a major milestone in search and rescue operations. In these situations, real-time radar playback provided by TRACON proved invaluable.

The redesigning of the airspace to be WGS-84 compliant is one of the steps taken by the country to meet ICAO’s standard and transit to performance Based Navigation, PBN, Government has deployed a sophisticated flight tracking system, and an Automated Flight Information Reporting System, AFIRS, which was previously unavailable in the country.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a statement has said it is highly elated by the massive turn-around of the nation’s airports as well as the enforcement of best practices in the sector.

“The leadership of the party commends President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah for the revolution going on in the aviation sector in the last 18 months.

“We are particularly impressed by the massive infrastructural development that has turned around the airports as well as the enforcement of regulatory reforms and best practices to guarantee safely in the industry,” the party said.

The Federal Government had recently been confirmed to have retained the United States of America, Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, Category One safety status with the issuance of certification to the Minister of aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka, in the US.

FAA had carried out an intensive internal aviation safety assessment of the sector earlier in the year and there were fears that the country might not retain the status it earned in September 2010.