Thursday, June 14th, 2018

The ASRTI/ART knows that an ideal national carrier must be domestically registered with support and encouragement of the citizens through the objective actions of government irrespective of party affiliation.

The ASRTI/ART is not in sync with the committee made up of Government agency head to midwife the process of setting up the proposed National Carrier.

We as professionals in the industry are advising a cautious approach to this project.

The probability of the directed committee’s emotional influence on the finished product is not very encouraging.

We would perhaps encourage not just a minimal involvement of government in the process but also her restriction to establishing a level playing field for the Nigerian public’s participation as investors.

If and when as expected, this process goes ahead towards the finish line, it would be helpful to consider the employment of reputable headhunters in the nomination of even the startup management team as “management challenges” played a prominent role in the demise of previous failed attempts.

It is also noted that the concurrent missteps of participation in the past, contributed to make such projects a mirage.

We expect government to carefully and transparently work out the involvement of operating local airlines that may be seriously considered.

ART’s position is patriotic and so geared toward avoiding the possible colossal and usual loss of both revenue and man hours from our commonwealth as experienced with the past unguided attempts. Whichever way it goes, we wish our dear country Nigeria the very best. 



Thursday, March 9th, 2017

ICAO provides a global framework of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) establishing a regulating floor as a basis for initial acceptance of flights amongst member states. SARPs cover all the main areas of aviation safety and ICAO runs monitoring and assistance programme globally to promote compliance. ICAO has placed requirements on States to ensure effective implementation of Safety Management Systems for both regulators and industry, reflecting modern-day thinking on how to complement and enhance traditional compliance-based regulation.

Regulatory Environment Our Nig CARs are based on ICAO SARPs but go wider and deeper, covering all domains of aviation safety: airworthiness operations, personnel licensing, aerodromes and air flight management NCAA ensures implementation and monitoring by means of an auditing programme.

How well is this being done and what results are we getting?

Compliance does not necessarily guarantee safety and the fact that you have no accidents does not mean you are safe.

The Traits of a Safe Organization
In general terms, safe organizations:
* pursue safety as one of the objectives of the organization and regard safety as a major contributor in achieving production goals;
* have developed appropriate risk management structures, which allow for an appropriate balance between production management and risk management;
* enjoy an open, good and healthy safety corporate culture;
* possess a structure which has been designed with a suitable degree of complexity, standardized procedures and centralized decision-making which is consistent with the objectives of the organization and the characteristics of the surrounding environment;
* rely on internal responsibility rather than regulatory compliance to achieve safety objectives; and
* respond to observed safety deficiencies with long-term measures in response to latent failures as well as short-term, localized actions in response to active failures.

Regulatory compliance by itself achieves very limited safety objectives.
The airline operators are generally in compliance with the Regulations which prescribes the scope of safety to be achieved.
They go through vigorous AOC assessment before being issued AOC. Thereafter NCAA carries out periodic audits and some measure of monitoring through base inspections and line checks.

Suffice to say that some organizations don’t deserve to hold an AOC because they don’t keep the structures in ground that AOC requires for commercial operation. The structures presented for AOC issue are hardly sustained for maintaining the AOC.

NCAA monitoring results in corrective action being carried out by the operators but this does not go deep enough to address risks. Hence effective implementation of Safety Management System is very vital to improving safety.

What must NCAA do to actually ensure compliance or improve on compliance?
Certainly not by increased inspection but rather by continuous monitoring approach similar to ICAO CMA
Emphasis should now be on safety analysis, studies and surveys
This requires data gathering i.e. create safety database – MOR, SDR etc

Hence the need for Research and Development Unit in NCAA
This has been suggested over the years which NCAA has turned deaf ear to. No Authority can go into the future without this.

Safety management requires data and a lot of analysis which very few airlines have put in place.
How does the Regulator identify safety trends in an organization? What parameters or indicators have they established as guide?

Regulatory Safety Audits
The checks carried out by the Regulator are intended to assess safety performance.
Address 3 elements:
a.    Surveillance and compliance with requirements
b.    Areas of organizational risk and the systems in place to manage these risks
c.    Competence and performance

NCAA is presently working on SSP as required by ICAO. The base requirement for an SSP is to set out how an acceptable level of safety performance in aviation is achieved by the State. This, I understand, the NCAA is relentlessly working on and coming up with key Safety Performance Indicators (SPIs) and Action Plan.

Risk identification is pivotal to our effectiveness. Need to develop our data classification and analysis to ensure we get the right information.

What is our Regulatory Authority doing to improve their effectiveness?

We must have a robust State Safety Programme (SSP)

Focus on factors that could lead to high-risk outcomes
Identify the main aviation risks that could cause fatalities – high risk outcomes
What are the most frequent scenarios that led – or could lead to – these high risk outcomes?

Conduct detailed analysis of the root causes that lie behind these risks
Common to all these scenarios are causal factors such as human performance or technical error environment, infrastructure, bad weather.

Evidence-based proactive approach to Regulation
The risks to the total aviation system in Nigeria need to be better understood as each individual and organization in the system has a unique risk profile. To continue to improve aviation safety, the direction is now moving towards a performance-based oversight model – Enhancing Safety Performance (ESP).

We must take a total system view of the aviation sector and new business models such as increased wet leasing, transnational organizations and new commercial arrangements for the provision of services. Aviation security advances may also have safety implication. Consequently we should be able to bring security, commercial and legal expertise to bear in order to improve safety outcomes.

The international regulatory framework governing aviation safety is constantly being developed and refined to respond to evolving needs and to address the needs a proactive and progressive global industry. One example is the move from compliance-based to performance based safety regulation. It must be recognized that it is crucially important not only that the right regulatory changes are made but also that such changes are introduced in a manner that minimizes the safety and economic risks inherent in implementing change.

We need to go well beyond rule making and compliance checking, with increasing emphasis on data collection and analysis, on research, on identification of major safety risks in a safety plan and on the use of non-legislative measures to mitigate risks.

Need to improve the coherence of the work across the full spectrum of aviation activities to deliver the more comprehensive regulatory ESP brings

What does Performance Based Regulation (PBR) mean and why is it important?
PBR is a regulatory approach that focuses on desired, measurable outcomes and goes beyond safety compliance of operators. The regulator sets objectives for the achievement and demonstration of safety, requiring operators to show (by argument and evidence) that those objectives are met. It aims to identify risks across the aviation system and develop effective ways to manage and mitigate these risks.

By thoroughly assessing and priotising risks at an organization, sector and total risk level, resources can be better optimized, allowing Regulators to focus on what delivers the greatest improvement to safety performance.

PBO (Performance Based Oversight) ensures organizations are monitored according to their safety and risk levels, focusing both the Regulator and Industry on the actual underlying safety risk rather than purely focusing on compliance.

PBR affects all safety related areas of a Regulator. Consequently a transformation to PBR is likely to include changes to how the Regulator is structured and organized.

Need for Performance and Process Improvement Programme PPIP
In order for the Authority to meet the challenges and exploit the opportunities that lie ahead, it must be recognized that the internal systems need a significant update.
Need to focus on those safety issues that matter most, to make better regulatory decisions and capitalize on current processes and systems to provide a much better and more efficient service to stakeholders.

In order to improve Safety Performance the Authority needs to adapt its structure to address the needs of a changing aviation industry.
UK CAA recognized the importance of formal project management in ensuring the efficient delivery of planned outputs and have accordingly appointed a business management team within their SARG.

GCPT Sam Ojikutu
Secretary General ART


Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Lagos, January 22, 2017. Following the decision and determination by the Federal Government to proceed with the closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja to flight operations for a period of Six (6) weeks from March 8 to April 19, 2017 so as to conduct emergency repairs on the runway, Aviation Round Table (ART) is hereby compelled to take a holistic assessment of the decision and critically appraise the safety, security and economic implications of such a serious decision to Nigeria and Nigerians.

For the purpose of our assessment and as key stakeholders and custodians of the legacy of fairness, truth and integrity in addressing safety critical issues in the sector, we need to ask the salient question; “How did we get here?” The Abuja Runway was originally meant to last for 20 years. However, on the balance of probability of the fact that it was underutilized judging from the number of landings on the runway, its utilization was further stretched by an additional 14 years leading to the current deplorable condition and the attendant grave safety implications as evidenced by several near fatal incidents that have occurred as a result of the bad condition of the runway.

This could only have happened due to the fact that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which is responsible for conducting safety oversight of the sector, was docile and failed completely in ensuring that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) religiously complies with the Runway Maintenance Programme for NAIA, which is an operational safety requirement. The failure of FAAN to strictly follow the Runway Maintenance Programme and conduct regular repairs and rehabilitation of the runway as at when due coupled with the lethargic oversight of NCAA have effectively contributed in bringing the situation to where it is today.

The decision as to whether a runway should be closed or not rests within the purview of NCAA as provided for in the Act establishing the Regulatory Agency and not the Executive arm of government. Unfortunately, constant political interference by the Executive arm of government, the Ministry, continues to usurp the role of NCAA and has hampered its effectiveness especially the current Director General.

We therefore challenge the NCAA to be alive to its responsibility of safety oversight by conducting a thorough assessment of the status of all the runways at the various airports in the country in an effort to correct the problems immediately and give each of them a clean bill of health in order to forestall a reoccurrence of the Abuja saga.

Closure of NAIA Runway no doubt has serious safety and security implications. Local and international passengers will have to face the great inconvenience of travelling by road from Kaduna to Abuja amidst several security uncertainties. Airlines, service providers, employees and the national economy will all be negatively impacted by the closure.

In view of the pains and untold hardships the closure will inevitably bring with it, we are concerned and sincerely hope that the project will be completed on schedule within the stipulated six weeks in order to reduce the pains, burden and costs to the people of Nigeria, the economy and the international community who do business in Nigeria.

Judging from the proviso given by the Managing Director of Julius Berger to the House of Senate that the project will be completed on schedule: “ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL,” ART is highly uncomfortable with such a conditional statement and seriously doubt that the project will be completed on schedule to once again allow for flight operations within the stated time frame. Our submission is that it is of outmost importance and highly desirable for Julius Berger to be compelled to issue a Performance Guarantee rather than hide under a blanket condition.

Furthermore, government needs to ensure that movement and facilitation of passengers between Abuja and Kaduna is clear and unambiguous in the interest of safety and security. The protection of airline officials and their assets should equally be a top priority. Moreover, the huge funds currently being committed into other sectors all in the name of using Kaduna Airport as an alternative could have been saved and better utilized in the aviation sector if only those responsible for maintaining the runway had been more proactive from the outset.

In the light of the closure however, Airline Operators can take advantage of the situation by increasing their flights into Kaduna from Lagos and other major cities around the country. Until recently, there were 14 international airlines operating about 70 weekly flights to Abuja. With the withdrawal of Emirates, Delta & Kenya Airways from the route, the weekly flights by the remaining airlines will now be about 55 flights weekly.

Assuming that each inbound and outbound flight has 100 passengers, conservatively there would be 5500 passengers inbound and 5500 as outbound or 11,000 passengers to and from Abuja via Kaduna weekly or about 1600 inbound, & outbound passengers daily. Conservatively, these would require about 20 flights from our domestic airlines if they would be encouraged & reasonably develop capacity to take advantage of this opportunity which d closure of Abuja is likely to create for them. Moreover, the closure will give helicopter operators an opportunity to operate commuter services between Abuja and Kaduna.

ART has learnt that out of the 3.6km runway at NAIA, only 2.4km is currently available. This therefore makes it unsafe and impracticable to divide the runway into two and still continue to operate on one section while work proceeds on the other section. Also, the call for a second runway at NAIA is unnecessary at this time in view of the fact that the current runway is underutilized.

For instance, Gatwick is a single runway airport that began commercial operations since 1933 and has never been closed in 84 years. The Runway length is 3.3km as against that of NAIA which is 3.6km. Between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015 alone, Gatwick had a total of 271,071 Aircraft movements comprising 135,536 departures/takeoff and 135,535 arrivals/landings.

FAAN should therefore ensure that it develops a Runway Maintenance Programme approved by NCAA if none is currently available. NCAA on the other hand must through regular oversight, ensure FAAN’s compliance with approved Runway Maintenance Programme. Furthermore, the Runway Maintenance Programme must be factored on periodic number of landings rather than on the age of the runway. Finally, Periodic Runway Maintenance Programme would make repairs & maintenance possible if the Runway Maintenance Programme is regularly implemented.

Elder Gabriel O. Olowo, Mecons Fnim
President ART

Aviation Round Table Q2 Communique

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2015

Communique of the Aviation Round Table Q3 2015 Breakfast Meeting
Ownership, Funding & Sustainability of Nigeria Airlines - A perennial challenge

Participants in the breakfast meeting are of the opinion that:
* Nigeria needs two to three national airlines while two must revolve around the existing carriers.
* That the government should not own but may midwife a carrier while ensuring it support, back and protect all flag carriers.
* Government should provide a level playing field for all carriers.
* Government should create an enabling environment for airline industry to thrive.
* Government should stop VAT on airline tickets as is the case in all forms of transportation.
* Government should have a measurable short ,medium & long term policy that will advance and guide the sector.
* We must strive to improve the aviation contribution to the GDP through improved and revised policies that will inculcate tourism.
* Government should consider the consolidation of the airlines through regulations.
* Government should set in motion the process of reviewing the bilateral air services agreements in place which is lopsided and detrimental to Nigerian carriers.
* Modalities for having a requisite hanger to reduce maintenance cost of our airlines should be expedited
* Nigerian carriers are advised to improve the customer experience and services which is not encouraging while efforts should be geared at implementing a Fly Nigeria Act in future to support our flag carriers.

GCPT Sam Ojikutu
Secretary General ART


JULY 14th, 2015

Among the objectives for the call to scrap the Nigeria Aviation Ministry ( without prejudice ) are the following :

1. Regrettably the Advancement of Aviation Sector in Nigeria has been retarded for the past 45 years ( 1970 todate ) One wonders where the sector will be by 2050 ?
2. Just one Nigeria Airways 45 years ago was stronger ,healthier and more efficient than 6-10 private schedule airlines economically lying in state today.

Mortality rate of 10-15 years is just too high. Model, ownership,funding & sustainability remain a huge question.

3.Traffic and Demand for Air Travel has increased by more than 500%, in the face of acute infrastructural deficit. Government / Private ownership ,policy summersault remain the bane.
A: MMA the no 1 Nigeria gateway has only D&E fingers since 1978 ( 37 years ) ago.
B: Harka and Emirate Airlnes recently collided on the Taxiway, in the face of other instances of many other near collisions and air misses in the sky.
C: Our airports have no car park so to say. Approach to all the airports is like arriving into a local uncivilized market rather than a serene ,clean , lush ,good to behold environment as we see it globally.
D: Passenger Processing is most cumbersome and detestable world over.
E: Personnel lacked Training , Attitude is quite negative and latent with Corruption from desk to desk.
4. Nigeria should adopt best model. US alone controls upwards of 45% world air traffic and FAA is the only agency of government for Aviation in the department of Transport ( DOT ).

Transport ministry should engage in the task of evolving complete primordial system for Nigeria where there is seamless backward and forward transportation integration between Air, Road,Rail, Sea,etc.

A: This will evolve a strong and autonomous Nigeria CAA.
B: Eliminate duplication of powers and incessant political interference in internationally regulatory functions of the agency. Episode of the last administration where DG was changed daily like underwear remain very fresh
C: DG position should be globally advertised and best professional given the mandate.
D: Reduction in the cost of governance because funds will be used for other more pressing social needs in the economy.
5. Aviation sector presently contributes less than 1 % of Nigeria GDP ( meagre 0.4% ) when a small economy such as Spain contributes up to 5%. A grossly underperforming sector.
6. All Air Services Agreement has delivered negative balance of trade between Nigeria and its trade partners throwing National Income into deficit through huge capital flight. The challenge of unstoppable African single open sky policy continue to stare us on the face.
7. The list is endless.

A more objective driven CAA with policy on measurable deliverables for every sector on short to medium and long term plan is earnestly the necessary and sufficient condition for a healthy Nigeria Aviation Sector.

Elder Gabriel O. Olowo, Mecons Fnim
President ART


JULY 8TH, 2015

The reported “collision” between an Emirate airline aircraft and a parked Harka Airline aircraft on the taxiway at MMA in the night of Monday 6th July, 2015 brought into fore the challenges associated with the crash landing of a cargo aircraft that was cleared to land on a closed runway at MMA some few years ago which was very embarrassing and costly to the nation.

The question we should be asking the responsible safety authorities of MMA and NCAA are:
a. What is the minimum safety standards or distance allowed at MMA for any aircraft to be parked close to the runway, taxiway, and/or the apron shoulders or Clear Areas MMA GAT etc, taking into consideration the extended swing span of some modern aircrafts at
b. When last had there been any field inspection at MMA to ensure that these minimum standards, maintenance, regulation are enforced and to ensure that there are no obstructions to air traffic movement on the taxiways/runways and at their shoulders/Clear Areas?
c. How often do international aircrafts do taxis on the left taxiways parallel to R/W 19L?
d. Who cleared Emirate to use the right parallel taxiway R/W 19L?
e. Who is responsible for airfield inspection and apron control at GAT?
f. Do we have adequate taxiway lightings and apron lightings at MMA and GAT Apron?
g. How long has the Harka aircraft been parked at that position?
The above are critical questions for NCAA, NAMA and FAAN in the course of their investigation of this incident.

It would be necessary to revisit the safety recommendations of a similar incident cited above towards ensuring that these type of incidents are avoided in the future.

GCPT Sam Ojikutu
Secretary General ART