The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt Muhtar Usman has assured Nigerians that the country still retains its US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 safety status until the later issues written report on the audit it carried out last week, which would reconfirm or downgrade the status.
The Category 1 is a very important rating in the aviation industry, which categorises country’s safety status in the air transport sector, but above all, it enables Nigeria and other countries with the rating to operate to the US with aircraft registered in those countries.
The Director-General who expressed confidence that Nigeria would retain the rating made this known when he addressed journalists after the FAA team completed the assessment at the weekend.
“They looked at our documentations and assessed us. The final results will be out in 60 day from today. As of now, Nigeria is still in Category 1; so far so good. We are waiting for the written report. As soon as we get a written report we let you know. I thank my colleagues for a job well done,” Usman said.
Reacting to the statement issued by the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) which said in a statement that Nigeria might lose the Category 1 rating, Usman said Nigeria has sufficient qualified and experienced personnel in the regulatory authority and other aviation agencies, adding that everyday professionals make request to work with the organisation, which means that their welfare package is attractive.
“The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requires a regulatory agency to attract and retain qualified and experienced manpower in sufficient number. Every day we get requests from professionals who want to come and work in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. That will tell you that we have the ability to attract these professionals and so far we have not lost any professional as a result of the condition of service. The people we have are qualified; they have experience and we will continue to train because training is continuous,” he said.
The Director General also spoke on the planned certification of Nigeria’s four major airports and said that the facilities would be certified and awarded certificates after they have met safety critical conditions as stipulated by ICAO.
“Lagos and Abuja airports are at various stages of certification. The certification depends on what the operator of the airports (the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has done. Ours as civil aviation authority is to ensure that standards have been met. Then we issue a certificate. The certification will be based on all the safety critical things being put in place by the operator. So far I will say it is okay. Let me say very soon the certification will be done but that will depend on the readiness of the operator,” Usman also said.