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‘Why politicians should not interfere in aviation issues’


Mohammed Tukur

Worried by the growing loss of confidence in local airlines’ operations, an expert has urged politicians to stop interfering in aviation issues, but should allow regulators to do their job.
The former Deputy Secretary General of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Mohammed Tukur, said “uninformed comments” about incidences could only do more damage to already struggling industry.  
Recent incidences of emergency door and skidding off the runway by Dana Air plane attracted comments and concerns from politicians up to the National Assembly and Federal Executive Council, calling for an audit of the airline.
Tukur told reporters recently in Lagos that while the concerns were genuine, uninformed comments would only create an atmosphere of panic.

He said airlines’ business all over the world and its regulations are the same and “never have we heard that lawmakers anywhere call for audit of an airline, even on the worst event of the Malaysian air disaster that happened four years ago”.

“As an industry stakeholder, my concern is that we should not at this time create unnecessary panic for ourselves, more so now that the economy is gradually picking up.

When you single out one particular airline for audit, especially when such call is not coming from the professionals, you create fear in the minds of the public that are the passengers,” Tukur said.

He noted that incidences and accidents are part of aviation business but unrelenting are efforts to minimise if not avert such occurrences. And since our airlines record incidences on daily basis, they should all be subject to full scale audit to avert any danger that might be lurking around.

However, “Politicians should not tell us when and how to audit the airlines. The call for Dana audit has not only sent bad signal in the system but has equally posited us as a people who are not really in tone with the dynamism in the aviation industry given the fact that the industry does not have local content.”

Tukur urged the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to engage more safety inspectors and release funds to effectively carryout their duties. The NCAA must also ensure strict enforcement of safety standards and financial regulation of airlines.

He observed that airlines must train and retrain its’ personnel to be abreast of current safety, adding that “the audit of an airline should not be celebrated on the pages of newspaper, rather we should applaud safety compliance of an airline, and that way, the industry will grow.”

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