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‘Pilot errors account for 80% of Nigeria’s air accidents’ - PUNCH

SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

BY   Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

Pilot errors account for about 80 per cent of all aviation accidents in Nigeria, experts in the industry have said.

Some of them, who spoke on Monday at the 13th Akwaaba African Travel Market, a tourism fair held in Lagos, however, stated that stakeholders had also intensified efforts on human capital development.

The President, Sabre Network, Mr. Gbenga Olowo, stated that about 1,312 lives had been lost in 10 accidents over 48 years in the country and that pilot errors accounted for 80 per cent of the incidents, while maintenance and weather accounted for the remainder.

Olowo, who is also the President, Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, said the situation had improved in the last one year, because there had been implementation of safety management system and more funds had been set aside for maintenance with dedicated accounts.

According to him, the country has not recorded any accident in commercial aviation since 2016 because airlines have become more responsible for safety and human capital development.

He explained, “In the past five years, the International Air Transport Association, through its Operational Safety Audit, has made its members to be principally responsible for safety and not necessarily the regulators.

“Member airlines strive for safety and also go the extra mile for audit by other jurisdictions outside their own registration; for example, the European Aviation Safety Agency certification in addition to that of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.

“Operators are also successfully moving to newer and younger fleets with lower operational and maintenance costs, and making available funds at low costs through financial institutions.”

Olowo added that there had also been more economic lease and lesser purchase conditions from aircraft suppliers, as well as continuous advocacy for improved aviation infrastructure, acceleration of the International Civil Aviation Organisation safety related standards and recommended practices.

The Country Manager, British Airways, Mr. Kola Olayinka, who congratulated Nigeria for an accident-free 2016, said airlines should maintain the record by applying the rules and investing more in staff training.

The Head, Public Relations, Accident Investigation Bureau, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, said the NCAA had been an effective regulator.

“Airlines have a tendency to cut corners but it is the responsibility of the NCAA to ensure that proper checks are carried out on the airlines, especially on aircraft maintenance and pilot certification,” he said.

According to him, reports from the AIB have also reduced accidents and influenced safety decision implementation on the part of airlines, regulators and other service providers.

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