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NCAA allays fear of imminent air crashes


 NCAA, Sam Adurogboye

NCAA, Sam Adurogboye

• Travel agencies okay Senate’s concerns

Challenges facing domestic airlines notwithstanding, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has dismissed fears that airplanes in the country are no longer safe for boarding.

The regulatory authority said that the guiding operational rules in aviation remained stringent with no rooms for compromise come what may.

The reaction was in response to concerns raised by members of the National Assembly, who reasoned that the current economic challenges may prompt operators to cut corners to remain in business and in the process cause disastrous air crashes.

Senator Dino Melaye had during Senate plenary last week, brought a motion on “Disturbing Development in Nigeria Aviation Industry”, to which the Senate Deputy President, Ike Ekweremadu, and Senate Minority leader, Godswill Akpabio, in their contributions, described the state of Nigerian aviation as very embarrassing with risks of imminent air crashes.

But while the NCAA allayed fears on air crashes, travel agencies commended the lawmakers for raising concerns, describing their reasoning as correct.

Spokesperson of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, told The Guardian that the realities of the current economic recession on airlines cannot be denied, with all having difficulties sourcing for aviation fuel and forex to meet their obligations.

However, the aviation’s internationally approved guidelines work as “a system that runs by itself and cannot be influenced by anyone or any situation.”

Adurogboye said that the same system runs in Nigeria, with oversight officials at every point of an airline’s operations, because aviation is a matter of “life and death”.

He said: “Those saying disaster is about to happen don’t know how the system works and it is quite unfortunate it is coming from that level. What I’ve discovered is that some people have natural phobia for flying and that is understood. But it is not to come out and say that planes will crash.

“Even the manufacturers know that some people dread flying and they have found solutions in in-flight catering and entertainments to keep travelers busy. If we all know how the system works, we will all board and go to bed,” he said.

The spokesperson assured that NCAA would not relent in keeping tabs on the airlines to ensure that there is no compromise that would put any life at risk.

President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Bankole Bernard, commended the National Assembly, particularly House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, for the high profile public hearing on aviation and the safety concerns raised.

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