NCAA gives domestic airlines six months to install safety gadget

By Oyise OGHENE
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued all domestic airlines in the country at most six months to install the newest safety gadget in the global aviation industry, Automated Flight Information Reporting System (AFIRS) in their aircraft or face sanction.

The Director-General of NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren disclosed this development today in Lagos in an interview with journalists shortly after the presentation of his paper at the ongoing Airbus Industry Workshop Training for indigenous airline operators.

He however said that so far, all the country’s airline operators were interested in fixing the equipment into their airplanes and disclosed that it cost NCAA about $30,000 to acquire and install the equipment in its headquarters in Lagos.

For the airlines, he said it would cost them more, but that they could pay in instalmentally to the manufacturer of the equipment after the initial payment of about $60, 000 on each aircraft.

He said, “I think we are giving them six months to install the gadgets in their airplanes. We need to give them sometime. It is not a thing you can do in one day. After that, no aeroplane would operate in the public category carrying passengers for hire and reward will be allowed again in the country. I think it is good to promote safety in the industry.

“Any snag would be detected automatically. Every one of them wants to do it. Look, if you think this is expensive, go and try accident. It is the latest in the world. You know we have been complaining that pilots don’t record snags in their logbooks, but this automatically records everything. You can’t hide or change it. Everyone would have it; the airline and even the NCAA. We will know the problem and we would be able to fix it.

“It is a fraction of the money they will use to buy an airplane. It’s nothing. The system entirely for NCAA cost us about $30, 000. For the airlines, we are talking of initial payment of $60,000 and then a yearly payment till they finish paying.

On the workshop, Demuren commended the aircraft manufacturer for conducting the training for Nigerian airline operators, saying that this would further boost safety in the Nigerian aviation industry.

Also speaking on the issue, the International Safety Programme Director, Airbus, Mr. Marc Ballion said that the AFIRS would automatically be fixed on all its aircraft from 2015.

He said with this installation, speculations arising from probable causes of aircraft accident would be over, stressing that before the airline could come out with the latest technology; it cost it two years of intensive research.

He said that before the latest discovery, the airline was improving in its safety record, maintaining that it would further boost safety in the sector.

“Again, we have to be predictive and pro-active in our approach to safety of airplanes and passengers in the sector. We don’t have to wait for an accident to occur before we take step. This device reveals all the components of aircraft and monitors the movement of aircraft” he stressed.

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