By Laide Akinboade
ABUJA—African ministers and aviation experts have blamed the ban by European Union, EU, on African airlines and inadequate funding as the major causes of the crisis in the African aviation sector.
Chairman Bureau of Ministers, Dr. Augusto Tomas, who briefed journalists after the ministerial conference in Abuja, said: “Unilateral operational bans imposed on some African airlines by EU, which limits participation of the airlines in the international air transport market and the resultant negative impact on the national economies, may lead to a robust action being taken by African states against airlines from EU member states.
“Insufficient number of competent or skilled aviation professionals to ensure aviation safety in Africa; inadequacy of financial resources to ensure aviation safety and uneven implementation of the Yamoussoukro decision are some of the problems facing African airlines.”
The participating states agreed to urgently implement national, regional and continent-wide strategies on aviation safety.
He emphasised the importance of air transport to the economic development of the continent, particularly the increased interaction among people and wealth creation resulting from the various exchanges, which had been facilitated.
The ministers agreed that there was urgent need to establish regional safety oversight, search and rescue and accident investigation organisations to develop and support member states to implement international obligations.
Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah, said security and safety were the pillar of the aviation sector. She admitted that Nigerian Civil Airport Authority, NCAA, still has some lapses in its enforcement functions, but restated her commitment to strengthen the regulatory agency to perform well.
She said: “We are committed to strengthen NCAA to exercise its re-gulatory functions well. There are some gaps in the area of enforcement, but it must be closed.
“We must reassure African states that security and safety were what aviation is all about. So we are prioritising on safety and those regulations.”