Assessment of the performance of the aviation industry in 2021
As the regulator of the aviation sector, regardless of the views of the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu on the industry, is considered very important and becomes an authoritative point of reference.
So when Nuhu gave an overview of the sector in 2021 and its projections in 2022, many stakeholders who read what he said, wanted to adapt it to theirs or rightly abandon their point of view and adopt his own.
The chief executive said he was surprised at the progress made by national airlines after flight operations resumed in July 2020 after the COVID-19 lockdown. Although the industry was affected by the lack of equipment, most aircraft in the national airlines’ fleets either had to undergo a C check or be in maintenance facilities overseas. Nuhu noted that this is a major challenge that is being overcome by operators.
“I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by the national aviation industry. We have certainly recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. Not that we have recovered from the COVID-19 level, we have passed the pre-COVID-19 level. If you see the airlines from Nigeria, they have customers. Right now I have about 10 to 12 crewed charter planes to fill the system demand void. So the industry is doing pretty well.
“The domestic industry is going at a fantastic rate. We have issued many Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) and we still have about 15 in the pipeline. We are working on it. We have airports all over the place and a lot of maintenance organizations are being created. In order for us to achieve the current growth, we (agencies, ministries, stakeholders and media) are doing something right that builds investor confidence in the system. Investors are ready to put their money into the system and develop the industry, ”Nuhu said.
He expressed optimism that the industry would continue this rate of progress.
“We will continue on this path and hopefully we want to get to a place where aviation plays very important contributions to GDP in the short and medium term; at least five percent. In addition, growth is stretching the infrastructure a bit. So sometimes clogs get created here and there because the system has been stretched, ”he said.
The managing director also expressed concern that the bad weather caused by the Harmattan haze could cause a temporary setback and lead to flight delays and cancellations, but urged airlines to obey the rules and strictly adhere to the rules. safety rules, no matter what. .
“Obviously there will be delays and cancellations if the weather conditions exceed safe limits, which is regulatory in nature the airline should not operate and if an airline is operating illegally, even if it is operating in completely safe, but below the regulatory requirements, we will penalize it because it risks the lives of passengers.
“I’m sure none of the airlines will because they know the risk involved. We are talking about the lives of human beings; no matter how hard I want to get to my destination, I have to be safe and alive. We have spoken with the airlines and they have responded positively. Pilots are professionals. I’m sure they will do the right thing, ”he said.
Regarding international travel, Nuhu said that despite the threat of COVIS-19 and the immediate threat of the new Omicron variant, much progress has been made so far.
“On the international scene, it’s not so bad. We’re gradually recovering and hopefully given what happened in early 2020 when they came out with the issues we’re having. We hope to surpass the level of pre-COVID-19 airplane travel. Generally, it has been hectic and stressful for us in the NCAA, trying to keep up with demands everywhere, but we will continue to do what we do to ensure the system continues to operate in a safe, orderly and organized manner, ” did he declare.
However, he noted that globally there is what he called COVID-19 fatigue. He observed, “If you go outside you see a lot of people not wearing their face masks except at airports, airlines and other places where we continue to educate people that COVID-19 is real. and that it develops in various variations. It’s something we just need to do consistently and ensure compliance. “
Speaking about how to strengthen the NCAA workforce to maintain and improve the safety standards already achieved, Nuhu said the authority will continue to work to have more inspectors in the agency.
“We’re looking to get approval to employ more technical staff, which we need to do. It is the government, there are administrative processes due, which we must respect and follow. Even if you do the right thing, you need to follow regular procedures. We are working on it and we are making significant progress, ”he said.
He said the agency had explained to the relevant authorities the challenges and difficulties they were facing. “We face some challenges and they too have helped us in one way or another through legislation to help us solve some of the challenges we face. We are a government organization and we must abide by civil service rules in everything we do, ”Nuhu said.
He explained that to attract the right staff to the agency, the NCAA must be a competitive employer. “What that says is that the wages we pay our workers have to be competitive in the industry, here we are a government organization and the industry is run by the private sector, so you can understand how our hands are tied, but we are trying to see how we can work within the limits of the laws to bridge this gap so that we can attract more staff to come and work with us, ”he added.