As the Nigerian air transport industry gears up to restart domestic flight operations, eight aircraft have been grounded while formal sanctions on another ten for regulatory infractions would be announced in due course should the operators fail to adhere to recommended standards.
The Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, who made the disclosure said as much as he believed that the industry eco system must “collectively collaborate, cooperate and communicate”, he would never for anything condone infraction on recommended standards and practices.
He warned all the operators; airlines, airports, air navigation service provider, weather report providers, airport health and aviation security that, all must satisfy stipulated standards of performance and that the announced date for flight resumption is sacrosanct only for those who fully complied with the regulation and advisories from the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, International Air Transport Association, IATA, World Health Organization, WHO, as they were being dispense by the NCAA.
He also accused all the airlines of failure to submit their proposed flight schedule for holistic consideration in cognizance with the crowd control mechanism for adoption in aiding physical distancing at the nation’s airports.
The CAA helmsman made the declarations yesterday, while hosting the third edition of zoom meeting since the closure of the airspace, to intimate operators with the level of preparedness of each players in the aviation eco system in the country.
On the contentious issue of physical distancing in the cabin, all submissions highlighted the futility of middle seat removal as it would engender prohibitive fare on air transport which would be inimical to the quick recovery of the industry.
Capt Nuhu however disclosed that the regulatory body had found reservation of the aircraft last row seat for the purpose of attending to any health matters and not exclusively for covid-19.
The general consensus was that because the air conditioning system in the aircraft blows from up to down, it does not spread any virus in the cabin, not even covid-19.
On this, the Captain Nuhu said the airport and airline security would be very firm in enforcing the use of mask in the airport and especially in the cabin throughout the flight duration to any destination.
Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika, reiterated that palliatives would be given to industry players, but the amounts and the modality for disbursement were still being worked out.
Present at the evening parley which lasted till few minutes to midnight and very well attended were the Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Capt Fola Akinkuotu, Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Capt Rabiu Yadudu, Managing Director, Aero Airlines, Capt. Ado Sanusi, immediate past President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agents. NANTA, Mr. Bernard Bankole among other industry chieftains and players.