By Wole Shadare
The Acting Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Benedict Adeliyeka has read the riot act to foreign airlines operating to Nigeria, saying the agency would not hesitate sanction any carrier that shows disrespect to its nationals or flout NCAA’s laws.
Adeyileka said this while speaking at a media briefing to officially announce the retention of Category one by the country. The United States’ apex aviation regulatory body, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had on Tuesday in far away Washington DC, awarded Nigeria the certificate of retention, showing that the nation had complied with all know aviation safety regulations.
The country is among six African nations that are category one rated. Others are South Africa, Cape Verde, Egypt, Ethiopia and Morocco.
He advised Nigeria’s flag carrier, Arik to take advantage of the retention to expand its international flights to the US.
Adeyileka, who was flanked by directors and general managers, said that Arik Air has helped the country to achieve Category one just the way the airline did in September 2010. NCAA, he said would collaborate with the airline as a partner to pass more audits for the sector, adding that aviation regulatory body would do is to assist airlines to operate profitably .
Adeyileka said international airlines are not treating Nigerian fairly, adding that the regulatory body would ensure that this does not happen again.
He disclosed that NCAA arrested a Delta Airlines pilot for saying that he only respects Transportation Security Administration (TSA) laws and not Nigeria’s, adding that Arik Air did the same thing and that the pilot was equally sanctioned.
Delta airline is one the United States carrier that flies to Nigeria while the other is United Airline.
“International airlines cannot begin to talk about TSA in Nigeria. International airlines must obey Nigerian laws while they still operate into the country .NCAA will not tolerate the flouting of Nigerian laws.” he said
“We have told international airlines to respect our culture. We are equally working to force international airlines to treat Nigerians fairly”
Speaking at the forum, the Deputy Managing Director, Arik Air, Capt Ado Sanusi ,said that retention of Category one is a welcome development .
He stated that the call on Arik Air to assist Nigeria in Achieving the FAA Category one is a national call despite the fact that it cost the airline money.
The deputy Managing director added that now that Nigeria has retained Category one, the airline will in due course expand its operations to Houston and Washington DC in the United States.