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Nigerian Airlines Soon to Fly Directly Into U.S.

Posted by Ndubuisi Francis - Lagos on 2006/07/12 | Views: 600 |

Nigerian Airlines Soon to Fly Directly Into U.S.


Aviation Minister, Dr. Babalola Borishade affirmed yesterday that a positive assessment of the nation's aviation industry during the impending International.....

Aviation Minister, Dr. Babalola Borishade affirmed yesterday that a positive assessment of the nation's aviation industry during the impending International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Audit would dovetail into a Category 1 classification by the United States and enhance direct air link between Nigeria and the United States by Nigerian registered airlines.

Although Nigeria and the United States entered into an Open Skies Agreement in 2000, Nigerian airlines are not allowed to fly into that country because the Nigerian aviation is yet to be classified under the International Air Safety Audit (IASA) Category 1 by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Borishade, in a keynote address presented at the stakeholders' meeting on the Draft Civil Aviation Bill held in Lagos, noted that ICAO is to carry out a mandatory and comprehensive audit of the nation's civil aviation under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme in November.

He reminded stakeholders that a review of the Nigerian aviation law and regulations and an assessment of their compliance with international standards and recommended practices, as enshrined in the Chicago Convention as well as the 18 annexes and other ICAO documents, will serve as benchmark for the assessment of Nigeria's level of compliance.

Borishade pointed out that it was trite to say that if the nation's civil aviation legal and regulatory framework are assessed as being satisfactory by ICAO, all other heads of assessment would ipso fact, fall in line.

"A successful assessment by ICAO will invariably dovetail into a Category 1 IASA classification by the United States DOT/FAA, which would enhance the maintenance of direct air links between Nigeria and the United States by Nigerian registered airlines and thus consummate the Open Skies Agreement", the minister said.

He therefore charged the stakeholders at the meeting to review the draft bill and find how far the provisions satisfy the following paradigms:

* Compliance with international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) especially as set by ICAO;
* Empowerment of the regulatory agency;
* Clear delineation of the powers/roles of the Ministry of Aviation vis-a-vis, the powers/roles of the regulatory agency and other aviation parastatals;
* Consistency with government's policy on civil aviation and reforms agenda;
* Empowerment of the Accident Investigation Bureau;
* Integration of world best practices in the areas of airlines/aerodrome ownership and operation and other aspects of civil aviation;
* Adoption/domestication of international Air Law instruments like the Montreal Convention 1999, the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on matters specific to aircraft equipment and the several aviation security conventions and protocols.

The minister also tasked the gathering to review other issues considered important and necessary for the standardisation of the nation's civil aviation industry.

Borishade pointed out that the Civil Aviation Bill seeks to repeal principally the Civil Aviation Act 1964 and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (Establishment Act 1999) and replace them with a more complete legislation , which addresses their inherent defects and meets international standards.

"Between 1964 and now, a period of over four decades, several developments had taken place in the worldwide aviation industry. The changes, including the shift from direct government ownership and control in aviation concerns to concepts such as deregulation, privatisation, liberalisation and commercialisation, emergence of issues such as Open Skies, one European Airspace, Yamousoukro Decision, BAG harmonisation of Regulations, amongst others, made the review and updating of our laws and regulations imperative", he said.

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