NCAA inaugurates mandatory audit of airlines to boost passenger, crew safety

By The Citizen

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Tuesday announced a mandatory audit of all airlines in the country aimed at ensuring the safety of all passengers and crew members.

NCAA said in a statement that the safety of the passengers remained its major focus, adding that steps were being taken to ensure that all aircraft were airworthy.

The statement signed by the General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr. Fan Ndubuoke, said that the IATA Operational Safety Audit which was hitherto voluntary had now been made mandatory for all Nigerian airlines.

It said, 'The NCAA wishes to assure all Nigerians that all necessary steps have been put in place to ensure a safe and secure air transport industry.

'As a measure of this, we carry out daily ramp inspection on all operating aircraft before any take-off, intermittent economic audit of airlines to ascertain their financial health so as not to impact on safety; a wholesale audit is altogether being carried out on all operating aircraft in the country.'

The statement also warned air travellers to desist from raising false alarm while on board an aircraft as it was against civil aviation's standard and recommended practices all over the world.

The warning came on the heels of the incident of a smoke alarm involving a passenger on board an Overland Airways scheduled flight from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to Ibadan airport on February 7, 2014.

The NCAA, however, commended the pilots and the crew on the professional manner in which they ensured a safe evacuation and pushed back the aircraft to the apron.

The statement said, 'NCAA wishes to reiterate that apart from the conditions of carriage enshrined in the passengers' ticket, there are certain responsibilities attached. Both the airlines and passengers have symbiotic role to play to ensure a safe and secure operation.

'We respect the passengers' right to report any unusual situation either safety or security threat at the terminals or on board the aircraft to airline officials or any member of the crew.'

The NCAA reminded the people of the Passengers' Bill of Rights which gives the rights to assistance and compensation to passengers and clearly states passenger obligations.

'The major one is that passengers arrive at the airport for check-in at least two hours prior to departure on domestic flights and four hours for international flights; in addition, passengers are expected to conduct themselves in a courteous manner and obey the directives of the flight crew,' it stated.