By Lawani Mikairu
Lagos—Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, said, Thursday, that domestic and international airlines operating in Nigeria sold tickets worth N505.2 billion in 2017.
The regulatory agency also said it applied 90 sanctions on pilots, cabin crew, aircraft engineers, and four approved maintenance organisations for violations of civil aviation safety regulations between October 2014 and December 2017.
Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, made the disclosure at the Quarterly Business Breakfast meeting of the Aviation Round Table, ART, in Lagos.
Usman, who was represented by Capt. Adamu Abdullahi, Director, Consumer Complaints Directorate, NCAA, said the ticket sales increased by 14.2 per cent (N82.7 billion) compared to the N422.4 billion sold in 2016.
According to him, the eight domestic airlines sold N93.6 billion worth of tickets, while the 32 airlines on the international routes sold tickets worth N411.6 billion during the period under review.
He said the amount realised from the sale of tickets could have been higher if not for the closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for six weeks to enable the government rehabilitate its runway.
He said: “A stable forex regime, effective implementation of Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business as well as the resumption of flight activities to the Maiduguri Airport, earlier closed due to insecurity, contributed to the increase.”
The director-general said that an average of 25,528 passengers presently pass through the 21 airports in the country daily in 305 flights.
On sanctions, he said that NCAA had enforced 90 from 2014, till date, adding that the regulatory agency would continue to ensure the safety of the Nigerian airspace which had recorded its third consecutive year of zero accident.
Also, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr Saleh Dunoma, said the Airports Council International had certified Lagos and Abuja airports worthy for maximum operations.
Dunoma, who was represented by Mr Elikwe Agbi, the General Manager, Safety Services, FAAN, said the agency was already working with the Council to certify the Kano and Port Harcourt airports.
“We have started the process of certifying these airports following the success we recorded in Lagos and Abuja. Enugu and Kaduna airports will follow subsequently.”
Earlier, the President of ART, Mr Gbenga Olowo, said there was the need for aviation agencies to set up Key Performance Index (KPI) to measure their achievements from time to time.
Olowo said that the group would continue to ensure the advancement of the industry by consistently promoting safety and professionalism through effective working relationship with government and other stakeholders.
Meanwhile, Captain Muktar Usman said 15 pilots, five cabin crew, four aircraft engineers, five airlines, and a private security outfit were sanctioned between 2014 and 2017., adding that anything that would undermine the safety and security of the industry would not be tolerated by the regulatory authority.
According to him, with robust regulation, regime of sanctions, proper scrutiny of application of the Air Operators certificates, AOC, well trained aviation inspectors the industry has recorded a decline in accidents and incidents.
There is no going back in the enforcement of the regulation to consolidate on the safety record so far achieved in the past four years,’’ he said.
Usman further said the accident free years had been due to development of global strategies for safety in air transportation, maintenance of standards and recommended practices, SARPS, monitoring of safety trends and indicators, implementation of targeted safety programmes, safety information sharing etc.
On the state of the industry, he said: ‘’There have also been lower insurance premium, more applications for air operators certificate, renewed confidence in air travel and opening up of new routes by Nigerian airlines in the region and outside the continent. In the area of professionalism, there had been an increase in the number of pilots licensed, air traffic controllers, cabin crew and a reduction in the number of expatriate pilots.’’