WorldStage Newsonline-- Nigeria’s aviation minister, Princess Stella Adaeze Odua, has decried the unimpressive rating on aviation safety in the African region based on the number of accidents per million departures compared to other regions.
Speaking at the opening of a five day aviation ministers’ conference in Abuja, Princess Oduah declared that there was the need to enhance continuous safety.
According to her, the conference was aimed to ensure that that strong practicable recommendation was adopted after the conference to better the region’s aviation sector.
She revealed that the issue of safety in Africa does not only need the total commitment of member states to safety but also collaboration amongst member states to build adequate capacity for safety oversight culture in the region.
Princess Oduah reiterated the need for collaboration among Nigerian airline operators towards think safety and fly safety adding that this will lead to growth of development of sustainable transport in Africa.
She said that most African states have shown renewed zeal to improve aviation safety.
In his speech, the Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren expressed shock over the crash of two Nigerian careers recently which left the country in mourning mood.
Demuren revealed that the current Civil Aviation Act of 2006 that created an autonomous civil aviation and domestication of the Cape Town Convention for the acquisition of modern aircraft and other safety initiatives had resulted in enhancing safety measures, passing of ICAO audits and attainment of American FAA CAT 1 certification.
He noted that four months from celebrating six uninterrupted years of zero fatalities in domestic scheduled flight operations, disaster struck involving Allied Air in Ghana and DANA flights in Lagos.
According to him, these accidents occurred after successfully carrying out 50 million passengers, operated more than one million flights and grown the traffic by almost 40 percent in the last five years.
The Director General described it as devastating blow to the industry and a major setback to the reform agenda that was being pursued adding that it underscored that safety was a journey and not a destination stressing that there was only departure and never an arrival with safety.
Demuren urged member states to adopt the Africa Flight Information (region) (AFI) safety improvement plan which will give them tools to improve the picture of safety in Africa adding that towards this, the country was considering mandatory IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) compliance for its airlines.
In his words, “We must not relent. We must not blink, we must remain focused, we must forge ahead, and above all, we must not be discouraged. Collaboration and cooperation among African states must continue”
He concluded that there may bumps on the road, but those bumps cannot and must not be the end of the road.