The planned reopening of airports for the commencement of commercial flight operations in Nigeria’s aviation industry may take longer than expected as most of the planned guidelines set by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), are yet to be complied with by some service providers in the sector.
This is just as the agency rated the level of compliance by domestic airline operators in the industry high and above average.
According to data released by the NCAA, only Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2) which is among the airports selected for reopening by the agency has met with the requirement for reopening with 82% compliance.
The NCAA said the average level of preparedness for the other 6 selected airports listed for reopening stood at 57.83% with General Aviation Terminal (GAT) Lagos scoring 60%, Mallam Amino Kano International Airport, 67%, Omagwa International Airport, Port Harcourt, 35%, Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja, 28%, Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri and Victor Attah Airport 60%.
The NCAA had earlier listed five airports, the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Omagwa International Airport, Port Harcourt and Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri for the commencement for Domestic flight operations in the country on June 21st.
Director General (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu said “June 21st date is not feasible to resume domestic operations stating that it will be reopened when it is safe, secured and organized citing precaution as a major factor.
The agency in a webinar last week with stakeholders in the sector had reviewed the level of compliance with the restart plan guidelines by airline operators and service providers to ascertain its readiness to kick start the industry.
According to the regulatory agency airlines in the sector have worked very hard to attain 90-95% compliance with requirements.
Captain Nuhu explained, “The civil aviation authority, despite pressures coming from all quarters, will not approve the start any day until we are sure and we confirm that we are ready to start in a safe, secure, organized and efficient manner. To do otherwise is disastrous for all of us.
“If we open the industry when we are not ready and we are guilty of spreading coronavirus, God forbid we have any incident, I believe the government will come hard on us and it is going to be counterproductive and disastrous for the industry.
“We are not too far, we are close but there is a need for timing to ensure that we are ready, positively, absolutely ready to start work.”
In a similar meeting held with stakeholders at the weekend, there are indications that the sector might not be opening any time soon as expected, with most of the checklist yet to be closed by federal airport authority.
The NCAA however stated other agencies like the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), have reached 80% compliance with ground handling operators scoring above average.