Barely three months after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) visited Nigeria for the audit of the safety status of the country’s civil aviation industry, INDEPENDENT can reveal that the country has once again scaled the United States of American (USA) hurdle.
Fact to this emerged on Thursday when a source close to the Ministry of Transport, Aviation Unit confided in our correspondent that the FAA Administrator, Mr. Dan Elwell had conveyed the message to Captain Muhtar Usman in an email address in late February.
Mr. Sam Adurogboye, the General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, also confirmed the development with our correspondent on phone.
The source said that the certification to the new status would be issued the country before the end of this month.
This status will enable Nigerian registered carriers to continue to fly directly to United States of America, among other benefits.
Nigeria it was gathered retained the status after NCAA, and other major agencies in the sector closed all the identified “open items” when the FAA team visited in August 2017.
The FAA team had returned to Nigeria on November 30, 2017 to verify if the country had closed all the identified open items.
There are eight critical elements required to be fulfilled before a country can scale the FAA audit.
The eight critical elements are: legislation, regulations, organisations, technical staff, technical guidance tools, licensing, continuous surveillance and resolution of safety concerns.
While in Nigeria, the FAA had carried out intensive internal aviation safety assessment of the sector and there were fears that Nigeria may not retain the status it earned in September 2010.
An email specifically signed and sent by the FAA Administrator, Mr. Elwell said that, “Nigeria had continued to meet the safety oversight requirements under the international aviation standards.”
The source added that the retention of Category One Status was “hard earned and the government would continue to ensure that the country retains the status and other future safety certifications in a seamless way.”
Adurogboye in a telephone interview with our correspondent confirmed the development.
He was however silent on when the letter was conveyed to the regulatory agency.
He said: “It is true that FAA has communicated to us that we have again retained the FAA audit. This shows that we are working and the government is working assiduously to ensure that the industry is save for all.
“However, I can’t be specific on the particular date that the letter was conveyed to us. But, we have retained it again.”
It would be recalled that FAA team had last August visited Nigeria to assess the country’s civil aviation industry, three years after it carried out similar assessment of the sector.
The FAA team, which was led by Louis Alvarez, Louis Vanstroy (Operations Specialist), Benjamin Garrido (Airworthiness Specialist) and Jeffrey Klang (Attorney) as members had observed some open items and advised NCAA to ensure the items we’re closed within 60 days.
The open items prompted the return of the team on November 30, 2017.
The team had assessed NCAA’s compliance with sections of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practises (SARPs) as contained in Annexes 1, 6 Part 1 and 8.
NCAA had scaled scaled the hurdle of the FAA in 2014 when the team came for reassessment of the industry.
Med-View Airline, the sole Nigerian carrier that operates long haul, had was selected for facilities test by FAA.
Before any assessment, FAA sends its checklist to the regulatory agency of the country it wants to audit.
The checklist for Nigeria included the current International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) guidance material.
Read more https://independent.ng/nigeria-retains-american-faa-category-one-status/