Carriers from Nigeria will be able to operate direct flights to the United States after the country retained its Category One status from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Nigeria was able to attain the feat after it passed the safety audit of its civil aviation industry that was conducted by a team from the FAA last year.
The positive result was relayed to Nigeria three months later. It initially attained the coveted status back in 2010.
The US Congress enacted the Category One status nearly 50 years ago for any airline flying through US airspace to obtain. Airlines that aspire to do so must comply with the highest of safety standards.
Arik Air, which used to operate flights to New York before suspending them in 2016, has indicated plans to resume flights. Also, two indigenous carriers are also hatching their own plans to launch flight operations to the US before the year ends.
Sam Adurogboye, the NCAA’s General Manager of Public Relations, explained that if an airline is designated to the US today, that carrier is allowed to fly into the country directly.
He also asserted that primary benefit of the audit is the prestige it brings to the nation as one that belongs to an elite group of countries operating in accordance with accepted international aviation standards.
The Category One status, Adurogboye said, also cuts down on expenses since operators no longer need to fly to other countries before heading to the US.
“ICAO audited us and we scored over 90 percent. FAA came; interestingly, when FAA came in 2014, they wrote that they are coming to recertify us on the account of what they are reading in our media.
“So they too begin to wonder because they were here few years ago. So having gone back when we retained the certification and again they are reading something else again from the so called views of experts,” said Adurogboye.