Abuja Airport Closure: Dele Ore Throws Weight Behind Aviation Minister
… Knocks AON Over Suggestion To Manage Runway
…Berates NCAA For Weak Regulation Of The Sector
The former President of Aviation Round Table and Aviation lawyer, Capt Dele Ore has said that he supports the decision of the Federal Government through the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika to close the faulty Nnamdi Azikwe Airport’s runway on March 8, 2017 to carry out repairs.
This is just as he said that the licensing Directorate of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)do not have qualified personnel, as a result licences are issued to those that are not supposed to get them.
Capt Ore said this while addressing aviation journalists on the issues in the aviation sector at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.
He took a swipe at the Airline Operators of Nigeria(AON) for allegedly asking that the part of the runway be opened for operation, wondering why a body that has been clamouring for infrastructure development at airports are now prefer to manage a runway that is bad.
According to him, “I want to pitch my tent with the current Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi that the airport should be closed. We have no choice than to support the government on the closure of the Abuja Airport runway. Abuja airport should be closed until it meets international standards and we must also hasten up for a second parallel or across runway at the airport.”
AON, he said spoke as if there were amateurs on the matter.
In his words, “AON got it wrong and they talked as if they were amateurs. We are not all stupid in this country.”
He argued that Nigerians should learn from the Hydro Cargo Airline crash, adding that Kaduna has always supported by hajj operations in the past.
According to him,” Hydro cargo accident on Abuja Airport, costs this nation a huge amount of money and the government at that time didn’t even allow NCAA or FAAN or any other agencies to contest it. Some people made away with that money because insurance has already paid hydro cargo some amount of money.”
He continued, “That same mistake is to be repeated if we allow work to be going on on the same runway; half of it, aircraft will be landing. In aviation, we have the take-off run that is going to lead you to decision speed, which states that if anything goes wrong, you can abandon the take-off, but if you are not able to stop on the runway, depending on your decision and all that, we have the stop way. That stop way must be long enough to stop the weight of that aircraft.”
Ore said that there is a connecting train from Kaduna to Abuja that makes Kaduna better than Kano and Minna, adding that Kano is 1,560 feet above sea level while Kaduna is 2,000 feet above sea level
He urged the Federal Government should mobilise portable Instrument Landing System (ILS)to Kaduna and other navigational aids to the airport throughout the during of the repairs at Abuja Airport.
On NCAA regulation of the industry, the former ART boss, stated that if Nigeria could score 97 per cent in the past in international Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit, how come the country scored 65 per cent and the agency is still happy about it.
He said that regulation of the aviation industry by NCAA is weak, adding that the agency now grant Airline Operator’s Certificates (AOCs) to persons that are not qualified to have them.
Hear him, “At a time, we reached 97 per cent in ICAO safety audit, but now, we now have 65 per cent, but let us remember that in this industry, the pass mark is 65 per cent in anything we do and we are happy. Demuren raised the standard so high, but it has been lowered gradually over the years. We are in the minimum requirement now and I made bold to say so. We need a stronger leadership in NCAA.”
He alleged that the NCAA Director General, Capt Mukhtar Usman of not always on sit in Lagos and that presently training has been stalled at NCAA.
In his words, “What has the DG done? Training has been stalled in NCAA. The weakest link of this industry is licensing and before our license becomes ‘Oluwole’, I believe we need to do something about it. A weak DG is the one that will allow anything to go in the licensing department. When a DG does not sit in Lagos and Nigeria, how does he plan for his succession? This man is not always on seat.”
“What about the AOC they issue to airlines? The system was weak and is still weak. A system that allows people who are not qualified to have AOCs to have it is a very rotten system. Nobody could have done that under Dr Harold Demuren, the former Director General of NCAA” He declared.