The Acting Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr Benedict Adeyileka, on Thursday said that more than 60 percent of the aircraft operated by Nigerian airlines were on lease.
Adeyileka spoke in Lagos through NCAA’s General Manager, Airworthiness & Standard, Mr Kayode Ajiboye, at a seminar organised by Aeroconsult with the theme “Sustaining Safety in the Nigerian Aviation Sector”.
He said that most airlines preferred aircraft lease financing to reduce their operational cost. Adeyileka said that many Nigerian financial institutions also preferred to support business aviation at the expense of commercial aviation.
“According to financial institutions, their argument is that business aviation has less risk when compared to commercial aviation,” he said.
The NCAA chief noted that one of the major challenges for airlines in the country was that lease rates were paid in U.S. dollars while passengers’ fares were in Naira. Adeyileka therefore advised the airline operators to adopt a merger plan to sustain safety standards in the aviation industry. He said that when airlines operating two or three aircraft merge, the level of safety will be better sustained. He also urged them to also work as partners by embracing code sharing and interlining.
The NCAA boss said that airlines should embrace the safety culture that comes with the Safety Management System and avoid cutting corners in safety critical areas.
“Following the introduction of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 19, NCAA is currently developing the regulatory requirements for safety management system for all service providers,” he said.
The NCAA boss said that exchange of safety critical information between the authority and service providers was another way of sustaining safety in the sector.
Also, Capt. Dele Ore, President, Aviation Round Table, said that airport runways and facilities should be upgraded to meet the ICAO and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) standards, codes and conventions. He said the challenges faced in the sector include debts owed by domestic airlines, revenue leakage, lack of integrated economic intelligence database, decaying airports terminals and lack of aeromedical ambulances.
Ore said that steps should be taken to overcome the challenges to enhance safety. [NAN]