A group of experts. Aviation Round Table (ART), on Monday advocated for full autonomy for Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to enable it perform its statutory responsibilities adequately.
The ART made the call in a statement issued by a member, Mr Olumide Ohunayo, on behalf of its President, Mr Gbenga Olowo, in Lagos.
The group maintained that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in any modern state, should be the arrow head in the observance, enforcement and implementation of internationally agreed standard and practices.
According to the ART, the CAA’s autonomy cannot be compromised in the interest of aviation security and safety.
“Thus, all extraneous interference inhibiting its effectiveness should be removed to facilitate its regulation and supervision of the industry in the areas of aviation security programme, airport periodic maintenance, airlines economic audit, operational safety issues, among others.
“NCAA should be strengthened to continuously enforce the National Aviation Security Programme,” it said.
The ART also called for human capacity development of NCAA employees in order to improve safety of the industry.
“The efficiency of the NCAA, as an important regulatory authority, is being impeded by lack of skilled or adequately trained staff.
“We, therefore, advise that the observed human capacity deficiency in the industry be rapidly addressed through the establishment of human capital development plans, institutional succession planning and mentoring programme across the industry and organisations with huge investment.”
The group also reiterated the need for Nigerian airlines to enter mergers and strategic partnerships to overcome some of the challenges facing the industry.
The ART said: “Symbiotic relationship is a prominent feature globally acclaimed in the aviation industry.
“The Nigerian experience has witnessed early death of airlines within a lifespan of five years with attendant multidimensional consequences.
“In order to arrest this unenviable cycle of failures, we believe that a recapitalisation of airlines through the instrumentality of mergers, alliances and code-sharing arrangements could be the panacea. ”
According to the group, participants (airline operators) in the industry should be required to be quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
The ART said they should also comply with the revised NCAA prescribed acceptable minimum fleet size alongside other requirements to promote good corporate governance and widen the public shareholding base of airlines.
It said, as incentives to the airline operators, the Federal Government should effect a downward review of the various taxes and charges.
The group further urged the government to review and possibly re-negotiate the various international air service agreements with a view to obtaining terms favourable to Nigeria’s aviation industry.