Posts tagged as: airports

Nigeria: NCAA Certifies Lagos Airport, Says It Meets International Standards

By Chinedu Eze

After months of remedial work and remodeling of facilities at the Murtala Muahmmed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has certified the nation’s busiest airport for meeting global safety and security standards as prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

This is the first international airport out of the four that would be certified in the next few weeks; the others are the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.

With the certification, the Lagos airport would now be cited among the standard airports in the world and airlines, which hitherto could not operate to the airport due to lack of categorisation can now operate to the airport.

The certification is also expected to bring down insurance premium on Nigerian airlines and the airports, as insurers describe the Nigerian operational environment as hostile but the certification shows that the airport and the other international airports that would soon be certified have met all safety and security standards in tandem with other major airports in the world.

Speaking at the event in Lagos yesterday, the Director-General of NCAA, Muhtar Usman, said the current drive towards the certification of Nigerian airports was very significant not only as a requirement by the ICAO and Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, but even more importantly as one of the critical safety targets set by the Abuja Ministerial Declaration of July 2012, that mandated all African states to certify their international airports.

“The certification is an enabler for the attainment of a regional hub which Nigeria desires for Lagos and Abuja. It is an enabler for airports in its territory to meet regulatory safety requirements on a continous basis, and that it is providing uniform conditions for safe and efficient operation of aircraft from all other States, as required by Article 15 of the Chicago Convention.

“Aerodrome Certification is therefore an ICAO strategy for the standardisation and harmonisation of airport services, facilities and procedures, as well as ensuring uniformity in safety critical aerodrome elements irrespective of differences in ownership and management of such aerodromes,” Usman said.

He also said that the certification would assist states to effectively implement the critical elements of a safety oversight system in accordance with Annex 14 Vol. I, and other relevant ICAO specifications.

Usman noted that the certification would signify to aircraft operators and other organisations operating at the aerodrome that, at the time of certification, the aerodrome meets the specifications regarding its facilities and operations, and that it has, according to the certifying authority, the capability to maintain these specifications for the period of validity of the certificate.

He remarked that NCAA is required to immediately commence the implementation of a post certification surveillance plan for the continuous monitoring of airport services, facilities, procedures and manpower levels to ensure that the Acceptable Level of Safety is not infringed on.

The Director of NCAA said:” In the regulatory body’s safety oversight responsibilities, it would ensure compliance with ICAO and national regulations at all times, and where necessary, sanctions would be imposed or certificate suspended to enforce compliance with standards.”

Similarly, FAAN has the utmost responsibility of operating the Murtala Muhammed Airport in accordance with ICAO standards and recommended practices, and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, as well as any special conditions on which the certificate is issued.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria is also required to promptly notify the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority of any changes in aerodrome services, facilities, procedures or staffing levels that can affect the certification of the aerodrome.

South Africa: Airports Company Pleased With Debt Reduction, Passenger Growth

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) reported revenue growth of 3.4% to R8.6bn in the year ended 31 March 2017.

Its profit increased by 10.8% to R2bn.

Return on equity was 11.3% compared to 11.5% in the previous period. Capital expenditure decreased by 31.3% to R893m.

Acting chief financial officer Dirk Kunz told Fin24 on Monday that Acsa has managed to significantly reduce its debt levels. He said reducing debt levels has been a deliberate strategy of the company over the last few years. It has also applied to the regulator for a reduction in tariffs.

“We have adapted this debt reduction strategy early and used every potential opportunity to achieve this goal. The real impact was to have strengthened our balance sheet so that, if further infrastructure investments are needed, we will have the capacity to fund those,” Kunz told Fin24.

Despite delays in tariff decisions, Acsa is still going through the process of further tariff applications in the hope of obtaining tariff certainty through to 2023.

According to Kunz, Acsa’s overall financial position remains healthy despite regulatory uncertainty and difficult economic conditions.

“In spite of the economic climate, we have seen growth in revenues, especially from international passengers. On the back of that we could get increased turnover. We are proud of our performance,” he told Fin24.

Ask how SA’s airport taxes compare to others in the world, Kunz said there have not been any recent cost comparisons.

“Airports that contribute to these kinds of studies are mostly European airports where there have not been significant infrastructure investments for a while. We, however, are still in a developmental phase, so a lot of our tariffs are still because of infrastructure investments,” he explained.

Kunz said Acsa will also continue to aim at improving its ability to spend as closely to what it anticipates as possible, from a planning and execution point of view.

Debt

Acsa has managed to significantly reduce its debt levels over the past five years. Debt, primarily in the form of bond issues, stood at R9bn at the end of the period, down from R17bn in 2012. As a result, Acsa’s gearing ratio has reduced from 59% in 2012 to 25% in the 2017 financial year.

Aeronautical revenue contributed 63% to total revenue but the company remains committed to continue to grow the non-aeronautical revenue contribution. Non-aeronautical revenue is derived from sources such as retail space, advertising, office rental, parking and car hire.

“The overall financial position of the Company therefore remains healthy despite regulatory uncertainty and difficult economic conditions,” said Maseko.

“Operationally, we are adapting well to a new tariff regime from the regulator which required a 35.5% reduction for the 2018 financial year with increases in the following two years of 5.8% and 7.4%.”

Passenger growth

During the financial year, Acsa had a total of 20.0 million (compared to 19.4 million in 2016) departing passengers from the nine airports it owns and operates.

Domestic passenger growth was subdued at 2.2%, while international departing passengers grew by 6.1%.

For the first time, Cape Town International Airport reported a total of more than 10 million arriving and departing passengers, with King Shaka International Airport reporting a total of more than five million passengers for the first time.

Aircraft landing volumes were flat for domestic flights and up by 2.5% for international flights, indicating higher passenger utilisation of scheduled flights.

Acsa CEO Bongani Maseko told Fin24 he is pleased, for instance, with Cape Town International Airport for the first time reporting a total of more than 10 million arriving and departing passengers. King Shaka International Airport near Durban reported a total of more than five million passengers for the first time.

“Acsa continues to be resilient, despite sluggish SA economic growth. Domestic passenger growth was subdued, largely due to SA’s economic situation. Acsa was, therefore, fortunate to have growth in the first place,” said Maseko.

“Our international traffic is growing tremendously. Cape Town, under the guidance of Wesgro, has attracted more airlines. I still think SA is a value for money destination despite the current economic conditions. We are also working with SA Tourism to sell SA as a destination. The rand is in our favour in this regard. SA is still a value for money destination and our traffic numbers testify to that. Of course the yield we get from international traffic is, of course, higher than that of domestic.”

Transformation

According to Maseko, Acsa has refined and enhanced its transformation strategy to focus on seven sectors which account for the bulk of its procurement. These sectors are information technology, construction, property, retail, advertising, car rental and baggage handling.

“We appreciate that business and transformation dynamics are different across these sectors and we need different levers to advance change in each. Some have made more progress with transformation, while in others we have identified the need to support more actively the development of black-owned and managed enterprises,” said Maseko.

“However, there remain several critical issues to resolve with the regulator, and we plan to continue advocating for a tariff regime without large changes from year to year. In addition, we need to resolve matters relating to capital expenditure which is essential to maintaining efficient airports and developing infrastructure for the long term.”

He told Fin24 that the broad policy statement Acsa made was to do business with more transformed institutions.

“We then recognised we need to break down that policy into sector specific strategies. It largely stems from the board saying that we must not just trade with the same people. We had to construct something new so that ‘not just the usual suspects’ tender for our work,” he said.

“So, we have a developing strategy and we are happy with the progress in meeting our targets so far. We will increase our targets each year. We currently have tenders on retail and car rental, for instance.”

Court case

In answer to a question by Fin24 about the latest development regarding a court case brought against Acsa by two empowerment partners, Maseko said it is currently before the court and “still in the process of unfolding with both parties hoping for finalisation soon”.

Fin24 has reported in the past that African Harvest Strategic Investments (AHSI) and Up-Front Investments 65 took Acsa to court because they claim the parastatal is holding them “economically hostage”.

They allege Acsa had them purchase shares under false pretences in 1998 because the company planned to list on the stock exchange and would therefore be largely privatised.

Since then, Acsa embarked upon major upgrades at its nine airports throughout SA. They claim that, in the case of the King Shaka International Airport in Durban, Acsa accumulated so much debt that it cannot afford to pay market-related dividends.

Source: Fin24

Kecoso Games Uplift Kisumu Spirits

Kisumu town on Thursday came to life when teams started arriving for the annual Kecoso Games which start on Saturday across the county.

The mood was already electric with club football giants Gor Mahia storming the lake side city for their SportPesa Premier League match against Chemelil Sugar which Gor won 3-0.

First to arrive in Kisumu — which was chaotic as recently as Wednesday after youths attacked women attending an inter-faith peace meeting accusing them of buying national identity cards — were the Kenya Maritime Authority.

They are among 12 teams that will compete in as many games during the Kenya Communications Sports Organisation (Kecoso) Games that draw institutional teams from the communications sector.

Kenya Ports Authority, who are the games overall defending champions, were expected later Thursday evening. Also expected Thursday were Kenya Airports Authority, KCCA, Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, Kenya Communications Authority and Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. Unlike in the past when teams have been staying in learning institutions, things are different this time with all teams settling for hotels.

“After the experience of the last year’s edition of the games in Nakuru where Kabarak University, which was the games main village, failed to accommodate all the teams, forcing others to look for alternative accommodation, most teams preferred to book their players into hotels this time round,” Kecoso official Sammy Wanjohi said.

The fact that most of the institutions are also in session also forced teams to stay in hotels, offering good business for the locals.

Many business people at the popular Chiro Mbero Market said the games were a Godsend, angling to maximise on profits.

Kenya

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Isiolo Town Set for Economic Take-Off With New Airport

By Kennedy Kimanthi and Vivian Jebet

After lean economic times caused by ethnic clashes in the early 2000s, coupled with banditry and near debilitating drought, Isiolo Town is readying for take off.

And with the opening of Isiolo International Airport, the fifth of its kind in Kenya, things are looking up for the region.

The airport’s 1.4km runway which extends to Meru County has witnessed renewed activity starting last week after the inaugural commercial flight by budget carrier Fly Sax.

The facility could also be used to export cut flowers, beef, milk and miraa.

Key plank

The Sh1.7 billion airport is a key plank of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) Corridor project.

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) chief executive Jonny Andersen said aviation has not been left out of the picture as Isiolo’s connectivity to the world is a strategic enabler of growth.

The agency’s main agenda for the airport, he says, remains improvement of its safety and security while establishing more revenue streams.

Mr Anderson said investment opportunities and development of trade and tourism within Isiolo were a sure bet for improved revenue and were likely to push up passenger numbers.

“Isiolo has become an engine of economic growth. It’s already making an impact on development within the region.

“Our policy is to promote growth of the aviation industry and its related commercial activities. Isiolo is already making an economic impact in the region. By venturing into this untried market, Sax has succeeded and I can only see a brighter future for this airport,” Mr Andersen says.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority deputy director general Tom Ogenche said there was a possibility of relocating the export of miraa to Isiolo Airport from Wilson Airport in Nairobi, where it is flown to neighbouring countries.

The neighbouring Meru County, where the crop is mostly grown, largely depends on road transport to ferry the perishable commodity to Wilson Airport for export mainly to Somalia and other local markets.

Demystify air transport

“We hope to open this place to bigger cargo aircraft which can lift miraa directly abroad instead of via Wilson Airport. The local leadership should promote air transport and help demystify it,” Mr Ogenche said.

Fly Sax director George Kivindyo said the airline anticipates brisk business on the route.

He, however, added that ordinarily when an airline takes up a new route, it plunges into a loss-making phase that must be sustained by a solid budget as it establishes itself.

“We are the pioneers of this airport and route. We would like some incentives from KAA so that flying keeps on appealing to regulars and first-timers. When you open a route, you don’t make money for the first six months,” he said.

Sax chief executive Don Smith said they would focus on routes with good returns on investments.

Mr Smith is eyeing more networks in northern Kenya as part of an expansion programme into emerging markets.

“We will encourage more proposals to link this route with, especially, Marsabit, Moyale and Samburu, which are popular destinations around here. There is also huge potential for tourism, which benefits the business community and leisure travellers. I am ready to provide an aircraft for investors meeting here to discuss these issues,” he said.

The Isiolo airport passenger terminal building has a throughout capacity of 125,000 passengers annually, with a floor area of 5,000 square metres. The passenger terminal car park can accommodate 200 cars.

Important hub

Investors say that with a forward-looking management, aggressive marketing and clear commercial plans driven by private-sector discipline, the airport can become an important hub for central and northern Kenya, and even eastern Africa.

Amenities at the airport terminal building include nine check-in counters (domestic and international), a VIP lounge, restaurants, duty free shops, banking facilities, forex bureaus, airline front offices and shops.

Already, there are plans to extend the runaway to four kilometres to accommodate and ease landing of bigger aircraft.

Nigeria: FAAN Urges Patience As Work Begins On Lagos Airport Road

By Wole Oyebade and Gbenga Salau

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has urged passengers to brace up for inconveniences as work begins on the Murtala Muhammed Airport Road in Lagos.

The road expansion project, being undertaken by the state government, would last for 15 months. Though alternative routes to access the international terminal had been worked out.

The agency urged passengers and other users plying the road to always leave homes very early in order no to missed flights.

Specifically, the project entails the reconstruction and expansion of the existing carriage to a three-lane expressway on both directions, construction of a two-service lane as well as ramp bridge to provide a detour from the Ajao Estate corridor as well as a flyover at NAHCO/Toll Gate and some drainage works.

Others include the removal of the existing pedestrian bridge at the estate and construction of same bridges at Ajao Estate and NAHCO/Hajj Camp. Also to be on the highway are construction of a slip road to provide access to the estate as well as construction of lay-bys and installation of streetlight, among others.

The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, added that security agencies and other traffic officers had been mobilised to check traffic during the period.

She said: “The Authority, in conjunction with the Lagos State government, has put in place necessary measures to mitigate the effect of the construction on road users while the project lasts.”

Also yesterday, the state government said it would build two flyovers along with other facilities on the Oshodi axis of the highway.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, represented by his Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Adebowale Akinsanya, dropped the hint a stakeholders’ meeting. He urged cooperation for the speedy completion of the projects.

Ambode said his administration was committed to transforming the highway to a world-class facility befitting of an international airport.

He said the reconstruction was part of the inclusive governance agenda of his government.

The governor thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the approval and the Ministry of Works as well as FAAN for their cooperation.

He expressed hope that when the road is completed, it would enhance vehicular movement and improve the image of the country.

The governor corroborated FAAN that measures had been put in place to mitigate the challenges road users and residents might encounter during the reconstruction.

Nigeria

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Namibia: Singapore Trains Namibia On Airport Emergency Planning

Windhoek — Officers in the Namibian Defence Force and Windhoek’s City Police and other stakeholders in the Namibian aviation industry are undergoing training on emergency planning by the Singapore Aviation Academy.

The training was organised by the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority and the Namibia Airports Company with instructors from the world-renowned Singapore Aviation Academy.

The workshop is meant to train the key stakeholders to plan and respond to acts of unlawful interference, as per the standards of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations. The workshop, which started on 14 August, is scheduled to end on 18 August.

“With the emergence of world-wide attacks on the safety and security of the travelling public, airports, aircraft and other persons working within the aviation industry – the counter-measures against these can only be effective as long as the people responsible for protecting civil aviation against these unlawful acts receive appropriate training to carry out their jobs efficiently and effectively,” says Albert Sibyeya, the acting Strategic Executive of Human Resources at Namibia Airports Company.

The workshop contains safety and security courses designed to equip airport regulators, airport operators and aviation practitioners with expert knowledge to enhance operations and meet mandatory industry standards.

According to Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Director, Angelina Simana, NCAA and NAC have the responsibility to all key stakeholders to ensure contingency plans are developed for all the airports and resources are made available to safeguard civil aviation against any unlawful acts.

“NAC and NCAA need to work together to ensure that the safety and security of the national airports meet international standards and adhere to regulations,” explained Simana.

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South Africa: Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize Delivers Sanitary Pads to Schools in Ulundi, 10 Aug

press release

The Minister of Home Affairs Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize be in Ulundi in partnership with Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) to deliver sanitary pads to girls in schools as part of her activities during Women’s Month.

As an advocate for women’s rights, economic emancipation and empowerment Minister Mkhize has identified nine (09) schools where girls will receive the pads and spend time with her and other officials.

“Vision 2030 from the National Development Plan cannot be realised without bringing dignity to the most vulnerable members of our nation, which is why we all should do more to empower, protect and support young women and girls. The delivery of sanitary pads is also in response and in support of the provincial government’s drive to make sanitary pads free across the province,” says Minister Mkhize.

According to research, there are more than 9 million girls in South Africa between the ages of 13 and 19, which is the school going age of menstruating girls. Their education is hindered by 25%, as these girls do not go to school whilst they are menstruating as they have no access to sanitary wear. That is one week every month, which is a massive set back in their school careers.

Issued by: Department of Home Affairs

South Africa

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Manpower Shortage Causes Passenger Delays At Airport

By Deogratius Kamagi

Dar es Salaam — Immigration department at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) is facing shortage of manpower leading to some delays on passenger clearances.

According to international standards, one person is supposed to be cleared within 45 minutes but at JNIA the process takes up to three hours.

This was said on Tuesday in the city by the acting director general of Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) Mr Mtengela Hanga, during the visit by three deputy ministers to inspect operations at the country’s main air gateway.

The three deputies who visited the facility are Mr Ramo Makani from ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Hamad Masauni from Home Affairs ministry and Mr Edwin Ngonyani from ministry of Works, Transport and Communication.

According to Mr Hanga, the airport was supposed to have 50 migration staffs per shift, but they are 30, denoting a shortage of 20 people.

He said in a bid to arrest the challenge, some officers have to forfeit their off time, to assisting in dealing with increased number of arrivals.

“Again we are running shortage of convey belts, visa machines and counters for airline operators,” he said.

The JNIA was built in 1984 with the capacity to serve 1.5 million passengers annually but due to renovation and increase of businesses activities, the capacity has dropped to 1 million people per year.

“However, number of passengers using this airport has increased to 2.5 million annually hence long queues especially at the arrival point,” he said.

On their part, the three deputy ministers promised that the government would work on the challenges to ensure the increased productivity from services offered at the airport.

Tanzania

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Tanzania: Manpower Shortage Causes Passenger Delays At Airport

By Deogratius Kamagi

Dar es Salaam — Immigration department at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) is facing shortage of manpower leading to some delays on passenger clearances.

According to international standards, one person is supposed to be cleared within 45 minutes but at JNIA the process takes up to three hours.

This was said on Tuesday in the city by the acting director general of Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) Mr Mtengela Hanga, during the visit by three deputy ministers to inspect operations at the country’s main air gateway.

The three deputies who visited the facility are Mr Ramo Makani from ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Hamad Masauni from Home Affairs ministry and Mr Edwin Ngonyani from ministry of Works, Transport and Communication.

According to Mr Hanga, the airport was supposed to have 50 migration staffs per shift, but they are 30, denoting a shortage of 20 people.

He said in a bid to arrest the challenge, some officers have to forfeit their off time, to assisting in dealing with increased number of arrivals.

“Again we are running shortage of convey belts, visa machines and counters for airline operators,” he said.

The JNIA was built in 1984 with the capacity to serve 1.5 million passengers annually but due to renovation and increase of businesses activities, the capacity has dropped to 1 million people per year.

“However, number of passengers using this airport has increased to 2.5 million annually hence long queues especially at the arrival point,” he said.

On their part, the three deputy ministers promised that the government would work on the challenges to ensure the increased productivity from services offered at the airport.

Tanzania

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Nigeria: NCAA Won’t Certify Any Airport That Is Below Standard – Capt Muhtar

interview

Captain Muhtar Usman is the director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). In this interview with ANTHONY AWUNOR, the NCAA boss explains the processes, stages and readiness of certification of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja vis-à-vis the role of CAA and ICAO.

Can you tell us the role of NCAA in Nigeria’s aviation?

Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is the regulatory body for aviation in Nigeria. It became autonomous with the passing into law of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 by the National Assembly and assent of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Act not only empowers the Authority to regulate Aviation Safety without political interference, but also to carry out oversight functions of Airports, Airspace, Meteorological Services, etc as well as economic regulations of the industry.

Nigeria has recently successfully passed the ICAO Security follow-up Audit of May 2006 and the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit in November 2006.

Nigeria now boasts of improved aviation infrastructural facilities at the airports’ state of the art navigational aids, modern weather forecasting equipment and highly skilled manpower to ensure safety and comfort of the flying public.

What is the responsibility of NCAA in the process of aerodrome certification?

First of all, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA is a regulatory agency charged with the responsibility of making regulations in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs). So, in essence, the Civil Aviation Authority regulates all aviation activities: safety, security and even economic regulations. Aerodrome certification is one component of safety, which is mainly covered under the ICAO Annex 14. The role of a civil aviation authority in certification is to ensure that the standards and the recommended practices set by ICAO are met. Principally because of safety and primarily, the ICAO is more concerned about airports that are being used or designated as international airports. Towards that end, we have been working with the two operators or service providers, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), to ensure that all that needs to be put in place for the certification, have been put in place. Our own is to certify after the operator in this case FAAN, beginning with Lagos and the next one will be Abuja. That all the requirements have been met with the certification, and they will continue to remain certified. So, it is one thing to attain the level of certification and another to sustain the certification. The standards have to be maintained.

At the last visit of ICAO president, while he was briefing the certification team in Abuja, he cautioned against being in a hurry to certify the airports. What are you putting in place to make sure things are done properly so that when ICAO Audit is done on all these airports, will not be found wanting?

The civil aviation authority is set-up to meet all with International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs), and we will not go below that to certify the airports. We have been working very well with the relevant airport operator to ensure that those things required are put in place for us to certify the airports at the reasonable time. We will not certify any airport that is below standards. We will ensure that airports that have met international standards as specified will be certified. And we will also mount surveillance to ensure that they continue to meet those standards and recommended practices with them, to continue to exercise privilege of the certificate issued to them.

Airport certification is a big deal to our country. What are some of the benefits to the country?

Yes, it is based on safety that you certify airport and it is required by ICAO to give the required confidence to international airline operators coming in that, standards have been met. That is not to say that what we have now is unsafe, because we have been operating. The airports as they are, are safe and they will be even safer, if we bring it in line with standards and recommended practices- because ICAO wants to bring in uniformity as fueled by Standard and recommended practices. We have been operating safe, we want everybody to be on the same page, that is why this certification has to be done in line with ICAO standards.

What is the percentage of the readiness of getting the airports (Lagos and Abuja) certified?

Specifically, I may not be able to give you percentage. I know we have had deadline but unfortunately, we have not met because we will not certify anything that is not up to standard. But those challenges are being addressed and I believe within a very short time, very short time, based on what we have in place now, Lagos will be certified. The certification process is in 5 stages and Lagos is about fourth stage. The fifth stage is just the signing of the certificate. So, we can say it is almost at the point of certification. Abuja too once Lagos is finished, we will concentrate more. Even though Abuja, some of the things that we needed to put in place were taken care of during the closure of the Abuja airport. As I said, there are 5 stages: the pre-application stage, formal application stage, document and evaluation of document stage, operational demonstration stage. At this stage, all the document you put forward, the way you operate, we want to see. And what you say you have in place are there and finally we sign the certificate. As I said, signing of certificate is just the beginning. You have certificate and it comes with privilege and you can only access the privilege if you continue to maintain the standards.

How is the cooperation from FAAN and NAMA in this certification process like?

We have been working closely from the beginning, because we have to interact. We have no reason not to cooperate in the first place, because they are desirous of getting airports certified and we are also desirous of certifying the airports. Our common goal is to get the airports certified, in line with the international standard and we have been cooperating. They have to show interest first and intent, and formally they will come and put in for the application, the documentation will follow- manuals and so on. At almost every stage, we interact and they have to demonstrate that what they have in place are workable. Where we have areas where we put limitations, we will put limitations because there is hardly any airport in the world that is operating without some forms of limitations. Where there are genuine issues and things are put in place to ensure those safety concerns are addressed. And they are properly documented.

It is a requirement that we certify those international airports. Currently we have five international airports, where we operate regular international flights. We started with Lagos and we hope Lagos will be finished in a very short time. Abuja is also way on course. Whatever lessons we learn in the certification of Lagos will be applied in the certification of Abuja. And whatever we learn in the process of certifying Lagos and Abuja, will be applied towards certifying Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu airports. And subsequently, we intend to go beyond the international airports.

What is the role of ICAO in the certification of airports?

Let me begin by saying the role of the operator is to apply and also to provide all the documentation and infrastructure, personnel necessary to meet the requirement of certification. And the role of civil aviation authority is to check and ensure that all provisions made by airport operator and the personnel will meet and they are able to continue to meet the international standards set by ICAO. And then, the International Civil Aviation Organisation too, will validate whatever certification we do. So, they (ICAO) will come for on-site validation. The civil aviation authority will certify, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO will come for validation. We will inform them that we have certified the airport. We have been cooperating, been receiving assistance and support from ICAO, especially the West and Central African Region based in Dakar.

In aviation, safety is paramount. How does NCAA come in?

Civil aviation is one of the most regulated industries in the world. Every single technical personnel, equipment and airport must be certified and monitored by competent regulatory agencies known as Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs). Even the CAAs themselves are in turn assessed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other international bodies. The operating principles, guidelines and standards applied in civil aviation are based on the Standards And Recommended Practices (SARP) of ICAO and stipulated National laws and regulations. In Nigeria, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is the apex regulatory body, overseeing the activities of all airlines and their pilots, engineers and cabin staff, airports, airstrips and heliports, navigation aids, all service providers including the airport authority and the air traffic service provider, aviation training institutions, etc. NCAA watches over the entire industry.

Can you give us an overview of the industry?

Civil aviation is a critical element in Nigeria’s transportation system and indeed its economy. Nigeria being Africa’s most populous country is an important destination for over 22 foreign carriers. Nigeria currently has Bilateral Air Services Agreements with over 78 countries.

From Nigeria, air travelers can fly directly to many of the world’s business centers such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Johannesburg, Atlanta, Amsterdam, Dubai and Jeddah to mention a few. With the attainment of America’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Category One Certification, Nigerian registered carriers can now fly directly into the United States of America (USA). In recent years, domestic and overseas passenger traffic has risen steadily at an average of 10% per annum and Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos, the Nation’s main gateway, accounting for over 60 per cent of the total passenger and aircraft movement. The consistent rise in passenger and aircraft has spun a thriving service industry, driven not just by private-sector profit motives but also by innovation and the strong desire to satisfy customers. The airport is being repositioned as a regional hub by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The effort of Government to reposition the airports in Nigeria is being complimented by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency which has made massive investments in the upgrade of Navigational facilities including new radar systems and modern landing aids. The Agency has well-trained personnel which includes 490 Air Traffic Controllers.

The Nigerian International airports, notably in Abuja, Calabar, Kano, Lagos and Port-Harcourt, are leading cargo centers. An important segment of the air transport sector, the air-freight business is kept alive by a combination of shippers, airlines, leading currier firms (such as UPS and DHL) and handling companies (such as NAHCO and SAHCOL). All the essential components in the sector, airlines, passengers, aircraft, crew, service providers are working in harmony to deliver a safe and economically sound air transport system that meets national and international standards.

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