NCAA certifies FAAN as MMIA aerodrome operator
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has approved the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as the certified aerodrome operator for the provision of required airport services, facilities, systems and equipment at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, in line with international standards and recommended practices.
This certification means that FAAN is responsible for providing and maintaining aviation facilities and regulating the conduct of airport opeartors, especially airlines.
“The implications of the certification are that FAAN can now be sued by any operator for damages to property or equipment due to negligence. For example, like the loss of the Emirates aircraft undercarriage on the badly maintained Abuja runway. The NCAA too could be jointly sued and hopefully, it must have ensured that the certificated airport is properly and sufficiently insured for damages to any airlines aircraft that could be caused through operational inadequacies, or by its staff,” said John Ojikutu, member of aviation industry think tank group, the Aviation Round Table (ART) and Chief Executive of Centurion Securities, in an interview with BusinessDay.
This development is coming a few weeks after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) refused to renew Nigeria’s Category 1 safety status because Nigerian airports did not meet the FAA’s safety and security requirements. The FAA therefore gave Nigeria 65 days from August 24, this year (2017) to resolve the identified issues, failing which Nigerian airlines would be barred from operating flights to and from the United States of America.
Nigeria has barely 39 days to meet the standards required by the FAA.
FAAN 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.
Ojikutu says he doubts if Nigeria can attain the Category 1 safety status without having its major airports certified.
According to him, airport certification is a requirement and compliant to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCAR) Part 12.6.4, which carries obligations on the operator to continuously maintain standards and competence in operation and ensuring availability of skilled manpower in sufficient numbers, for the periodic maintenance of the facilities and the system.
He disclosed that the certification was not meant for International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to conduct but for it to witness as an observer.
Speaking at the certification event in Lagos yesterday, Muhtar Usman, director-general, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA) said the current drive towards the certification of Nigerian airports is very significant, as a requirement by the ICAO and Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, and even more importantly, as one of the critical safety targets set by the Abuja Ministerial Declaration of July 2012, which mandates 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 continuing 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 and critical aerodrome elements, irrespective of differences in ownership and management of such aerodromes,” Usman said.
He further explained 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.
He added that it 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 noted that the 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 NCAA, in her safety oversight responsibilities, would ensure compliance with ICAO and national regulations at all times, and where necessary, sanctions would be imposed, or certificates suspended, to enforce compliance with standards.
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