After American agency’s audit, NCAA optimistic about category-one status
• FAAN prepares airports for sallah traffic
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has expressed optimism that the country will retain its category-one safety status after the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concluded audit last week.
While the country awaits final report of the U.S. team, the apex regulator said hopes were high that the country’s status will not be downgraded.
Maintaining the safety rating is important for Nigerian and U.S. carriers to operate non-stop flights both ways.
Meanwhile, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has assured all airport users that terminals across the country are now fully ready to host air travellers during the Sallah celebration.
The Director-General of the NCAA, Muktar Usman, told reporters that the audit exercise went as planned and final results are due in 60 days.Reacting to claims in some quarters that Nigeria risks losing the current status, Usman said of significant importance to retaining the status was qualified and experienced personnel and NCAA is not in short supply of such hands.
According to him, “The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requires a regulatory agency to attract and retain qualified and experienced manpower in sufficient number. Every day, we get requests from professionals who want to come and work in the NCAA.
“That will tell you that we have the ability to attract these professionals and, so far, we have not lost any professional as a result of the condition of service. The people we have are qualified; they have experience and we will continue to train because training is continuous,” he said.
The DG added that plans were on to have the four major airports certified after they must have met safety and critical conditions of ICAO.His words: “Lagos and Abuja airports are at various stages of certification. The certification depends on what the operator of the airports (FAAN) has done. Ours, as civil aviation authority, is to ensure that standards have been met. Then, we issue a certificate. The certification will be based on all the safety critical things being put in place by the operator.
“So far, I will say it is okay. Very soon the certification will be done but that will depend on the readiness of the operator,” Usman said.The General Manager, Corporate Affairs FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, said as part of the preparations towards seamless facilitation of passengers during the Sallah break and beyond, the VIP Protocol lounge at the General Aviation Terminal, Lagos, has been refurbished to give maximum comfort and value to customers.
Also, maintenance of the conveyor belts at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos has been completed and functioning optimally. In addition, airport security and other logistics have been upgraded and strengthened to provide for the expected increase in passenger traffic in and around our airports.“New directional display units have been provided to guide travellers, especially new ones, at our airports.
Airport dos and don’ts banners have also been displayed at strategic locations to educate newcomers.“While we advise the general public and intended travellers to make early preparations towards completing their travel requirements in good time, we will also like to re-state that receiving of dignitaries at restricted areas by security agents and airport officials is prohibited and anyone found wanting will be prohibited.”