ICAO certifies Nigeria's airspace

By The Citizen

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has listed Nigeria as one of African 14 countries that has achieved effective air safety implementation, scoring above the global average of 61 per cent.

This rating is contained in this year's ICAO Safety Report, compiled by organisation's auditors who investigated the compliance with stipulated International safety standards by individual countries across the world.

ICAO , the global aviation regulator, consists of 200 countries.

The Coordinating spokesman of aviation parastatals, Yakubu Dati, said the ICAO 2013 Safety Report lends credence to the Category One certification granted Nigeria in 2011 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States, for meeting stipulated international standards and practices on safety and security.

Dati explained that it signals the success of the Aviation Master Plan developed by the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah.

He said: 'The vision is to make Nigerian aviation sector a world-class provider of safe, secure and comfortable air transport sector that is self sustaining and pivotal to socio-economic growth.'

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is sending 96 staff for training is part of on-going efforts to beef up capacity and manpower requirement preparatory to the imminent take-off of the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) automation in November,

NAMA's Managing Director, Mazi Nnamdi Udoh, said they will be trained in Basic Aeronautical Information Course at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology ( NCAT), Zaria, adding that for effective deployment of logistics, the group shall run the course concurrently in four batches.

Udoh enjoined them to justify the agency's huge investment in their training by taking their studies seriously.

ICAO has set November 15th 2013 as deadline for the implementation of AIS automation worldwide and the project have reached advanced stage of completion.

AIS automation when in operation, would enhance air safety with pilots sending their aeronautical messages on-line and this would reduce excessive telephone conversation between pilots and air traffic controllers.

Also, in line with the Special Scholarship Programme for youths in Niger Delta, the Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lufthansa to train its pilots.

According to the agreement, some of the pilots who underwent training in South Africa, would be embarking on a14-month training in Germany later this year.

The agreement was signed in Abuja yesterday by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman Presidential Amnesty Committee, Kingsley Kuku and the Managing Director of Lufthansa Pilot Training Network, Captain Holger Hoffman.

Kuku explained that the programme is approved by President Goodluck Jonathan to train youths who have interest in aviation.

According to him, 'We went into the agreement to develop the aviation industry. It is not enough to train private pilots, it is better to train those that will in turn develop our economy. It is a great window for young men and women who will want to be aviators to harness.

'Twenty pilots from the Niger Delta will be embarking on the first batch of the 14 months training. We are happy that Lufthansa agreed to train them because in the aviation team worldwide, Lufthansa is rated one of the best. We are amazed that they opened their door to us.

'The pilots have passed all requisite exams and texts and have secured their Private Pilot License (PPL) and Commercial Pilot License (CPL) from the Afrika Union Aviation Academy, Mafikeng and Flight Training School, Midrand, South Africa.