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Nigerian aviation regulator says international safety rating not at risk

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) announced that the country’s international safety rating remains intact after an audit that was conducted by the United States Federal Aviation Authority.

The NCAA said that the exercise that was done in August, highlighted the crucial elements of aviation legislation, regulation, organization, technical staff, quality and training, technical guidance tools, licensing certification, approval, continuous surveillance and resolution of safety concerns.

The NCAA’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Sam Adurogboye, revealed that Nigeria’s Category One status was not at all endangered, saying that the report of the audit would be ready 60 days after the audit, which ended on August 25.

“We still have some areas to close and that will be done within 30 days, after which they will calculate final results and send to us after 60 days of the audit.

“Stakeholders are working to make things work. In the debriefing we had with the FAA team before they left, we didn’t fail. If we had failed, we would have known before they left. Whatever we derive from the closed areas can only add to our score,” Adurogboye said.

Nigeria achieved the Category 1 air safety rating from the US government back in 2010, under the FAA International Aviation Safety Assessment program.

Nigeria’s Category 1 air safety rating means that the country complies with international air safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation, which sets international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

The Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, expressed hope that Nigeria would retain its Category 1 safety rating at the end of the audit.

“As with any audit exercise, you cannot expect 100 per cent performance. We expect that within the next 30 days, we will receive a written report from the FAA on their findings. As of now, Nigeria is still in the Category 1; and so far, so good, we are optimistic about our performance,” remarked Usman.

Adurogboye also said that the threat of a ban on Nigerian carriers from entering US airspace was non-existent, explaining that the FAA audit was done only on the activities of the NCAA.

“The FAA has nothing to do with airport certification. It is not one of the items they looked at; they did not go to the airports.

“It is the American Transport Safety Administration that audits airports not the FAA and it is done once in a year at airports where their airlines fly to. Nigeria has never failed in any of the annual audits, and we have no reason to fail which is why we still have the US airlines operating here.”

He also chimed in that the FAA team visited the maintenance organization of Med-View Airline as a reference operator for the exercise.

The spokesperson for Med-View Airline, Obuke Oyibotha, relayed the airline’s operations was utilized as part of the criteria to audit the NCAA, adding that the airline passed the audit.

“The FAA does not relate with airlines; they relate with the regulator. If they want to do anything, it is the NCAA that will be downgraded and that is when airlines can be affected. But if a country has attained the Category One status, it cannot be downgraded just like that because a lot goes into attaining that status,” he said.

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