BY LAWANI MIKAIRU
The Technical and Administrative Review Panel on Domestic Airlines,TARPDA, has urged the Federal Government to set up an aviation leasing company to assist airlines operating in Nigeria to acquire new aircraft.
This was one of the recommendations of the panel, inaugurated in June 2012 by the Minister of Aviation following the crash of Dana Airline plane in Iju-Ishaga, Lagos, which killed more than 153 people on board.
The panel, headed by Retired Group Captain John Obakpolor, came up with the 59 findings and 41 recommendations.
The panel recommended that ‘’an aircraft leasing company with an initial investment of $10 billion should be set up by the Federal Government to acquire modern aircraft from major manufacturers and lease to qualifying air operators at preferential rates.
This will help in the reduction of operating cost and improvement of efficiency and competitiveness’’
It will be recalled that airline operators have complained about the huge cost of acquiring new aircraft. This has led the regulatory agency, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to set the age limit of planes that can be acquire to operate in Nigeria at 22 years. It is the belief of many aviation aviation experts that new aircraft is easier to maintain. And maintenance is the key to air safety.
The panel also found out that in some instances, ‘’ the surveillance by NCAA inspectors on the airlines’ maintenance practices were below expectation. This is attributed to such factors as insufficient manpower and training.’’
The dearth of qualified man power in the agency regulating the aviation industry has led to many airline cutting corners and not be questioned because some of the regulators do not have the professional competence to call violators to order