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Substandard airports should be shutdown by NCAA – Aviation Expert



Airport 2

Grp. Capt. John Ojikutu (retd), an aviation stakeholder has said that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) should be bold enough to shut down airports that are operating below the minimal industry standard.

Ojikutu in an interview with Nairametrics said that inasmuch as the NCAA had carried out punishment measures against private organisations, especially airlines that failed to operate to industry standards, the industry regulator had failed to carry out such sanctions against government agencies that failed to operate to required standards.

Aerodromes operating below standards

Ojikutu expressed concerns that most of the country’s airports are operating below standards, yet the apex aviation agency had failed to walk its talk on them.

According to Ojikutu, Nigeria failed to score the minimal required 75% in the recently conducted International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Safety Audit because of the non-certification of any of the international airports in the country.

He called on the NCAA to periodically carry out auditing of the airports, just as it does for airlines, ground handling companies and other allied organisations.

NCAA checklists

Ojikutu queried the NCAA’s checklists or standards for runways, taxiways, lightings, perimeter/security fences and others at the airports

He maintained that all these facilities must have adequate skilled manpower for their management, services and maintenance.

  • He said: “I am deeply surprised that the audits of airports, which normally should be periodically and yearly are being escalated as something new. Yearly auditing is not only meant for airlines but for the airports and the allied services like the ground handlers, fuel marketers and catering services.
  • “Like the airlines, the airports need certification before they are put into operation, but how many of them are certified? What is the consequence on the insurance of the airlines in the event of an accident in any of our airports that is yet to be certified? Before upgrading, how many airports are certified by the NCAA?
  • “To the best of my knowledge, only Lagos and Abuja airports are certified and the remaining 19 airports are not, but on whose statutory authority are these other ones operating?
  • “If any airport is operating lower than the standards of its approved programme, it is necessary for the airports to be grounded the same manner an airline is grounded.”
  • According to Ojikutu, NCAA had given too many concessions to government agencies in the sector, without giving such privilege to private operators.

12 points Loss

The Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt, Musa Nuhu had said recently that Nigeria lost about 12 points to the recent ICAO audit due to the non-certification of any of the five airports in the country.

He also said that without the certification of airports, it was almost impossible for any country to score above 70 per cent in ICAO audits.

He, however, warned that the NCAA would not issue any undeserving certification to any organization or airport.

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