By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
The Federal Government yesterday unveiled a new National Civil Aviation Policy to regulate activities of the aviation sector.
Unveiling the new policy at the public presentation at the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NIMET, headquarters, Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Odua said the new policy became imperative for safety and security purposes.
According to Oduah, the regulatory function would also include monitoring foreign non-scheduled flights and helicopter operations.
She said, “Part vii of the policy deals with General Aviation (GA) and provides for measures to generate definite policies, develop regulatory framework and adequate infrastructure to support it.
“For reasons of safety and national security, this part focuses on the need to control and monitor all non-scheduled flights operations – including helicopter operations, offshore and onshore in Nigeria as well as the operation of foreign non-scheduled flight and flying schools.”
Represented by the Senior Special Assistant on Aviation Review, Ms Ann Ene-Ita, she said that changes in the sector at global and national levels including likely future development led to the establishment of the new policy.
The minister who said that the policy will be reviewed in every five years or as situation demands, expressed optimism that it would be adaptable to new safety security, facilitate growth of domestic airlines as well as strengthen the existing regulatory framework.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Overland Airlines, Capt. Edward Boyo decried the old policy stressing that it created unpleasant scenarios for the private sector and aviation stakeholders.
Boyo said the new policy reflected provision for Public Private Partnerships, PPP, private sector involvements as well as favourable business condition for the private sector.
The Chief Executive Officer of IRS airline, Ishiaku Rabiu described the change as one borne out of courage and determination.
He said if the policy is fully implemented, the aviation sector will witness greater improvement.
It was gathered that through the new policy, the National Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is expected to give much attention to controlling and monitoring of all non-scheduled flights operations in the country.
The first NCAP was first introduced in 1989. It led to the establishment of the NCAA and Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The 2013 policy which entailed 10 parts identified the need to establish a national safety programme in compliance with the International Civil Aviation (ICAO) safety management standard. The programme is expected to ensure that aviation service providers have adequate safety management system.
A brief overview of part iv of the policy contained regulations that bother on Aviation Training Organisations (ATOs).
It focuses on restructuring the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) to a national aviation centre of excellence for the provision of high quality aviation personnel; encouraging development of other training institutions including flying schools for basic, refresher and advanced trainings; developing regional training centres for meteorological personnel and procedures for the validation of foreign crew licenses of foreign pilots to enhance the shortage of local flight crew.