By John Okoh
Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, admits that recent Azman Air incidents have exposed some lapses in the federal body’s system which it is currently trying to correct.
He said if the NCAA is perceived as a corrupt organisation, all the operators and aviation businesses in Nigeria will be discouraged to charter or lease aircraft.
Nuhu who made these disclosures when responding to questions from aviation correspondents in his office at Murtala Airport Ikeja, said they are making changes to make the organisation much more effective and efficient.
In the incident involving Azman, Nuhu said they needed to respond to the many allegations levelled against him and the authority to avoid damaging the image of the country before the international aviation community.
“Unfortunately, in this particular case when somebody goes to the public and impugns the credibility of an organisation. We need to defend our action as an organisation.
What I want you to understand is that it is not we as a person and not even the DG, it’s not NCAA, but Nigeria’s reputation that is being damaged in the
It makes the whole business much more difficult for us. It damages the industry. That is why we had to come out and explain to the world what happened”.
He pledged to ensure the right thing is done to consolidate the safety records the industry has enjoyed in the past 5 years, adding that the cases of incidents will be handled to ensure it is minimized to the barest.
“We don’t have any airline accident in the last 5 years and God forbid there will not be any during my tenure.
Not only the accident, the number of incidents too that people will not hear about. We want to bring it out to make the system much safer.
When you have these incidents, you use your equipment much more, instead of grounding the airlines because they have incidents, they do more flights and system becomes more efficient, effective to the benefits of the travelling public”.
He hinted that after nine years of operations, Chanchangi Airlines Nigeria Limited was set to return to the country’s airspace.
With its head office in the Chanchangi Office Complex in Kaduna, Nigeria, the airline had operated scheduled domestic passenger services.
“Chanchangi wants to come back and they want to use ATR.
They are planning to come back.
The demand is there.”Capt Nuhu equally observed a new trend in airline operations where operators are now shifting to smaller aircraft against the bigger ones.
The DG said: “You mentioned the issue of not using the right fleet.
Yes, but with the new trend, I see people going for Embraer, CRJ, ATR42. So there is a paradigm shift. People are beginning to realise you can’t use 737 for short flights.
I can see Air Peace had got an E2195, he is gotten two and he said in the long term, he is going to replace all its 737. United Nigeria is using Embraer 145. Green Africa is using ATR 42, 72.
“There is one that has started processing its documents, he wants to use Embraer 145.
The thinking is changing because this 737 business is not working for us. It is going to take a while.
The economics is forcing the change. It is a positive change in the industry.”
On the issue of Azman Air, Capt Nuhu noted that the issue of Azman Air was going on well.
According to him, the agency was working towards resolving it and hopefully soon.
He, however, added that the NCAA will not release anybody until they are satisfied, “that recent responses from Azman had been very encouraging and very positive.
“They are taking all that we have explained to them. Now they understand it is even better for them to improve their business model,” Nuhu explained.