Airlines staff fault FG on planned merger of aviation agencies
The Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN) has kicked against the merger by the Federal Government of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA).
ATSSSAN said in a statement in Lagos that it was shocked by the announced merger which it noted came at a time when Nigeria, as a signatory to the convention on international civil aviation, has in the past 14 years made significant progress in institutionalising and nurturing the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority into a sound civil aviation regulatory institution that is now a reference model of a CAA in the West African sub-region and in Africa.
ATSSSAN said it “views the decision of the government to merge the NCAA - a regulatory entity with NAMA and NiMET both service providers within the aviation industry as ill-timed and ill-conceived and inimical to the sustenance of the feet Nigeria has attained in the area of international certification by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States Of America (FAA Cat. 1).”
While ATSSSAN recognised the prerogative of the Federal Government to restructure and consolidate its parastatals for whatever reasons, it said it was of the opinion that the government should have consulted widely on the issue before making such pronouncements.
ATSSSAN reminded the Federal Government about Nigeria’s obligations under the Chicago convention 1944 and the consequential commitment to subject its civil aviation activities to regular routine and scheduled oversight/inspection by ICAO which is charged with the responsibility of setting standards for civil aviation and observing same globally through its universal safety audit oversight programme.
It added that Nigeria has and maintains similar commitment with the international maritime organisation pursuant to its being a signatory to the world maritime convention. Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison, urged government to reconsider granting permission for multiple entry points to foreign carriers into Nigeria, saying the arrangement is killing indigenous airlines.
Meggisson, who is also the President of JedAir, stated this in Lagos in a chat with newsmen.
He said until government put in place policies to protect indigenous airlines, the sector’s potentials for growth would be stunted with multiple entry points granted to foreign airlines.
According to him, foreign airlines should rather enter into interline agreement with local airlines so their passengers can be moved across the country each time they fly in.
He said: “We have allowed the foreigners to take the jobs of our pilots and engineers. We have allowed the foreigners to do multiple entries into our airports because our policies are so loose and we allow them to take all the passengers at the detriment of the Nigerian carriers. It is either we start to eat, or we will be eaten. It is an embarrassment to know how backward we have fallen.
From Left: Nahco Aviance Chairman, Malam Suleiman Yahyah; Prof Ummu Ahmed Jalingo; Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, and the Managing Director of Nahco Aviance, Mr. Kayode Oluwasegun – Ojo at the endowment of Professorial Chair in Aviation Economics by Nahco aviance at BUK…. recently.