By Kenneth Ehigiator
The Nigerian Civil AviationÂ Authority (NCAA) hasÂ expressed satisafaction at the high compliance level of airlines to the agencyâ€™s directive to refleetÂ with new and more modern aircraft to enhance safety.
This comes as Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited pledged to retire one of its helicopters to Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, for practical training of its students.
Director-General of the NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren, who spoke while unveiling weekend in Lagos the brand new Cessna Citation executive jet and helicopters acquired by Bristow Helicopters, said the take over of the nationâ€™s airspace by new planes has helped to restore the confidence of the flying public, especially after the fatal crashes of 2005 and 2006.
He commended the management of Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited for heedingÂ NCAAâ€™s directive for airlines operating in the country to acquire new planes for their operations.
â€œToday, Bristow is showing compliance.Â When this administration came, the airspace was replete with old planes, but now, there are new planes everywhere and we are very happy about this.
â€œBristow was the first to bring into the country brand new Dornier 228.Â Today,Â we are witnessing another one.Â We have not had problems of compliance with Bristow and this is the way to go,â€ said Demuren, who was represented by NCAA Director of Licensing, Capt. Telema George.
Demuren expressed delight that the Cessna Citation jet acquired by the company has a tracking device, which will make it possible for the aircraft to be tracked and monitored wherever it was during flight.
He urged airlines that are yet to embrace the directive to do so without further delay, vowing that the NCAA would enforce the directive to the letter.
Deputy Managing Director of Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited, Capt. Akin Oni, disclosed that the company was in the process of donating one of its helicopters to the nationâ€™s aviation college (NCAT)Â in Zaria for training of its students, adding that the gesture was part of the companyâ€™s corporate socialÂ responsibility (CSR).
Capt. Oni said much of the companyâ€™s CSR revolved around training of personnel for the aviation sector, noting that the company expends no less than $210,000 for training of each pilot for its operations.
According to him, Bristowâ€™s biggest spending is on training because of the gap the issue of training has created in the nationâ€™s aviation industry.
Oni, who noted that Bristow Helicopters had in the last six months invested $100 million on acquisition of new planes and helicopters, said the latest acquisition of Cessna Citation executive jet and helicopter cost the company $50 million.
He said the company would continue to abide by regulatory rules relating to safety, especially as, according to him, its competitive edgeÂ over competition is also safety.
Capt. Oni also said the company has the capacity to embark on â€œDâ€ checks, the highest level of checks, on its helicopters as well as â€œCâ€ checks of its jets.
He said the company, whicch currently has a fleet of 53 aircraft, comprising 51 helicopters and two executive jets, has never recorded any accident in its 41-year history.