Stories by Lawani Mikairu
THE recent certification of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos, by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, after many years of operating flight operations without International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, certification is a sign that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, is making efforts to make travellers in and out of Nigeria experience improved services at the nation’s airports. The airports authority was established in 1976 as the Nigerian Airports Authority (NAA) and later became Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN. FAAN was set up by the Nigerian government with Decree 45 of 1976, to oversee the operations and maintenance of all Federal airports.
The aviation agency was re-named, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN in August, 1995, following a major restructuring and reforms of the Nigerian Aviation sector by the Federal Government. After Lagos Airport certification, Nnamidi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja is the next airport slated for certification by NCAA who is empowered by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs), to carry out airport certifications.
Director General, NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman who presented the Certificate with no. NCAA/ARD/AC/001 to the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Engr. Saleh Dunoma said with this certification, “the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is the certified aerodrome operator for the provision of required airport services, facilities, systems and equipment at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos in line with international standards and recommended practices.”
Usman added that “The certification is an enabler for the attainment of a regional hub for Lagos and one of the critical safety targets of NCAA”. The DG also revealed that the certification is a clear indication that the airport “has met regulatory safety requirements on a continuous basis and that it is providing uniform conditions for safe and efficient operation of aircraft from all other states, as required by Article 15 of the Chicago Convention”.
Also, the pronouncement by the regulatory authority, NCAA, confirming that Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, still maintains its category one status is a clear indication that better days are ahead in the aviation industry. This declaration was made by NCAA after the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, left the country, having toured major facilities at the premier gateway. This also confirms that all the facilities and infrastructural upgrade at MMIA is of international acclaim. FAA is a global aviation body, saddled with the responsibility of airport certification across the globe.
In 2013, the Federal Ministry of Aviation launched the most ambitious rehabilitation of airports programme that the Nigeria aviation industry has experienced since inception.
The upgrade and rehabilitation programme involved the remodeling and rehabilitation of 22 Federal government-owned airports around the country. During this phase, many of the country’s airport terminals that had not been refurbished for long were rehabilitated and remodeled to increase their capacity. That programme is 90 per cent completed.
In 2015, Nigeria civil aviation got US FAA’s Category One Re-Certification. The FAA audit assessed the country’s aviation safety rules, procedures and available facilities, giving them a pass mark.
Aside Lagos airport, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport,NAIA, Abuja, is also on the priority list for re-certification which may crystallize soon, few months after its runways was resurfaced at record time of six weeks, courtesy the full support of the federal government that rose to the occasion.
FAAN recent laudable achievements can be attributed to the determined effort of FAAN management under Engr. Saleh Dunoma, who has left nobody in doubt of the commitment of his management to the development of the aviation industry and to leave it better than he met it.
The agency has continued to demonstrate its determination to making air travel business for Nigerians and foreigners alike a worthwhile experience. It has remained focused at every inch of its operations which is: safety and security of lives and comfort.
Committed also to its vision of being among the best 50 airport groups in the world, FAAN has not relented on its oars by enlightening the general public particularly the passengers on its service through the Servicom Unit and this has improve service delivery.
On manpower development, the training and re-training of members of staff has equally been applauded by watchers of the industry. FAAN recently graduated another batch of 227 Aviation Security (AVSEC) and Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (ARFFS) cadets . This is one of the efforts by the agency to boost safety and security in and around airports and enhance effective airport emergency management.
The 107 Aviation Security, AVSEC and 115 ARFFS Trainees who have just completed a three-month training programme comprising of ICAO approved courses were commended by FAAN management for displaying commitment and discipline during the training.
To boost staff morale, some members of staff were recently promoted. And to make their job easy,Aviation Service Portal was launched which allows easy access to the services of the authority and this further demonstrates the enthronement of total sanity in the overall services and the authority’s day by day activities.
That, the MMIA scaled through the certification hurdle is a good omen especially now the country is basking on the euphoria of yet another independence anniversary which marks the 57 years of our nationhood. As expected, the landmark achievements of FAAN will positively affect other aviation agencies as they render complimentary services.