The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigeria?s major carrier, Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, has said that Nigerian aviation industry has improved significantly in the area of safety over the years.
Onyema, however, attributed this to the strict adherence to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommended practices by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
He said NCAA in the last four years under the management of the current Director General, Captain Muhtar Usman, has improved the safety rating of the Nigerian civil aviation industry.
For instance, since the last accident involving Associated Aviation in 2013, there has not been any accident or major incident involving commercial airlines operating in Nigeria.
According to Onyema, this explained why Nigeria has had successive ICAO and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) audits with 96.4 percent pass mark for safety.
?Talking about regulation, I think Nigerian airlines are well regulated. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is doing a wonderful job on that. It is not easy. Sometimes you don?t feel comfortable with the way they are doing it, but they have to do it. The kind of regulation NCAA brings to bear on Nigerian airlines cannot be compared to any other, even in advanced countries.
?For instance, we had a bird strike on our first day in Kano and the pilot made air return back to the airport. We sent our British engineers to Kano to rescue the aircraft. Then we sent another aircraft to Abuja to go and airlift the passengers. Do you know that after the British engineers rectified it, NCAA insisted on being on the flight when we carried out a test flight? I was happy when I heard that,? Onyema said.
On Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), the Air Peace boss said that is no level playing field, which he said led to the outcry by the Nigerian airline operators.
He said that currently, the treaty does not favour Nigeria because other countries use high charges to discourage Nigerian airlines from operating to their cities, but when they come to Nigeria they pay relatively less charges than what they level against Nigerian carriers.
Onyema remarked that what Nigerian airlines are demanding for is observation of principle of reciprocity by the federal government.
He decried that most of African countries over charge Nigerian carriers, but pay pittance as charges whenever they fly into the country.