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AON Condemns Plan to Ferry Aircraft into Nigeria before Inspection

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The Executive Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison has faulted the proposal being made for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) to carry out inspection of aircraft after it has been ferried into the country, saying it would compromise safety.

Presently before any aircraft is brought into the country, NCAA would inspect the aircraft overseas and certify it air worthy before it is allowed to fly into the country. But  what is being proposed now is that the aircraft should be flown into Nigeria before it is inspected by the regulatory body.

Meggison said such proposal may affect the safety and development of the aviation sector as aircraft that do not fit into the Nigerian CAA specifications in terms of airworthiness could be flown in and concerned authorities will face another challenge of taking them out of the country.

He said the usual practice is that aircraft safety inspectors from the NCAA travel to the maintenance facility or the manufacturer’s facility or country of sale to carry out the necessary check on the aircraft before being flown into Nigeria, a system he described as better and effective.

Meggison observed that defects or faults found by NCAA inspectors on any aircraft requiring rectification could be carried out at the seller’s or C Check Maintenance Repair Organisation (MRO), before such planes are flown into Nigeria.

He also said allowing NCAA inspectors to travel to the place where the aircraft is originating from would not only give the inspectors technical exposure on the job, but would allow them carry out detailed checks on the airplane before it is brought into Nigeria.
Meggison, who is the CEO of Jed Air, said the availability of MRO in the country where such aircraft are based or repaired would enable the NCAA inspectors to point out defects that could easily be fixed out there.

He said if any aircraft  with technical defects or that lacks compliance with airworthiness directive is flown into Nigeria without NCAA inspectors being given the opportunity to inspect them before importation into the country, it could become a problem for both the regulator (NCAA) and the affected operator (whether commercial or private).

The AON chairman said  although the association has not been officially notified about the proposal, he condemned it and those championing the plan, saying they want to create a porous situation that would compromise air safety in Nigeria.

“Those calling for the importation of aircraft into Nigeria before it is inspected do not mean well for the country. Allowing such proposal to see the light of day may have adverse consequences on safety and standard of aviation in Nigeria,” he said

Meggison observed that though the high  cost borne by airline operators for aircraft inspection by NCAA could be reduced through buying of economy seat tickets for the officials as opposed to the current arrangement when the airlines are expected to provide a business class ticket,.

He said airlines are already paying five per cent fees on all ticket sales to NCAA, noting that  the authority should subsidise or pay for inspection fees from this funds as this would encourage airlines to bring in more aircraft.

This, he said, would increase  capacity in the industry and give the regulatory agency an opportunity to earn more revenue from airlines.

Such significant reduction in inspection fees, Meggison said would reduce the financial burden of airlines, who are currently operating in a high costs environment, adding that this was one of the reasons AON has been clamouring for the establishment of MRO facility in the country.

“If you say the aircraft should be flown into Nigeria first before technical checks are carried out on it on arrival, what happens when it is discovered that there is a major defect on the aircraft or that the aircraft does not comply with Nigerian specification? Or for example the aircraft was flown in from Australia, Canada or a very distant country, and since we don’t have a maintenance facility MRO to correct the defect, how do you tell the owner to take such airplane back? Will the authorities now allow Nigeria become a dumping ground for all manner of aircraft that can’t be fixed locally? These are the issues,” he said.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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