Stakeholders in the aviation industry have called on the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to ensure strict regulation of travel agencies operating in the country.
They made the call at the Quarterly Business Breakfast Meeting organised by the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative in Lagos, yesterday.
The theme of the meeting was “Nigerian Travel Agencies’ Challenges and Regulations.”
The President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mr Bernard Bankole, said the regulations would checkmate the excesses in the sector.
Bankole said that foreign travel agencies had infiltrated the business in the country without registering with the association and NCAA.
He said its members might go out of business if nothing was done to stop activities of unregistered agencies in the market.
The NCAA’s Director of Air Transport, Group Capt. Edem Ita (Rtd), advised all intending travellers to stop patronising unregistered travel agencies.
Ita said this was due to the recent increase in reports of fraudulent ticketing practices by unregistered travel agencies.
“The Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015, Part 18.9.1 (111), prohibits the undertaking of the business of travel agency by any unregitered person in Nigeria.
“This is without a Certificate of Registration or Licence issued by the Authority, upon fulfillment of certain requirements, including, that an applicant submits evidence of membership of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agents (NANTA).
“In addition, Section 30 (4) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 empowers the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to regulate, supervise and monitor the activities of travel agents in Nigeria,” he said.
Ita said the regulator had, therefore, found it mandatory that all travel agencies must be registered with the NCAA and NANTA.
“The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has about 600 travel agents while NANTA has 200 members while NCAA has only 157 registered members in our record.
“This gathering is a wake up call for every travel agent operating in the industry to register with the regulator and NANTA,” he said.
Ita said NCAA had directed all duly registered travel agencies to display their certificates of registration or licences in all their outlets to check the sharp practices by unregistered travel agencies.
The Chairman, Med-View Airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, said there was need for NCAA to closely monitor the operations of travel agencies in the industry.
He said that apart from issuing licences to them, NCAA must look into the operation to ensure effective regulation of the travel agencies.
Bankole argued that travel agency business had remained an important business for those who wanted to survive in the business.
He said that their operations had been dwindling due to improper regulation of the business.
Nigeria Saves $500,000 From Calibration Aircraft – Minister
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said that Nigeria will be saving a lot of money from the acquisition of a custom made calibration aircraft recently acquired by the Federal Government.
Sirika who disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents in Abuja, Tuesday, said the purpose of the aircraft was to calibrate navigational equipment and aid the country for the purpose of flight operations.
The aircraft which is worth about $8.5 million, according to the minister, will be commercialised to generate revenue, and keep the industry safe.
“We used to have one in Nigeria, but for the last two decades, we never had any. What propelled us to procure this aircraft was that while we were reconstructing the Abuja runway, we needed to recalibrate all those landing aids. That is the standard requirement and this is to ensure they are working in perfect order.
“The last time Nigeria had such aircraft was 20 years ago under cover aviation flying unit. We did not have the capacity as a country, the only people close to us that had is ASECNA which is owned by French speaking countries, but the aircraft is domiciled in Niger.
“We approached them but they did not have a slot for us. If I hadn’t got the support of far away South Africa, we would not beat the six weeks deadline.
“Nigeria will be saving a lot of money by procuring this aircraft. I know I paid about $500,000 when our equipment was due to South African contractor to carry out the task.
“ If you say every six months, we will do this, and that would be half a million dollars every six months. So when we do it sixteen times, the value of the aircraft would have been paid. Not only that, we will commercialise it to generate revenue and keep our industry safe “, Sirika said.
The minister, however, explained that it took about nine months from when the request was made to the completion and installation of the equipment.
The Tide reports that the aircraft was built in Textron Aviation Services, Kansas in the United States, and it is expected to improve safety in the aviation industry.
PH Airport Manager Seeks Safety Awareness, Education At Airports
The Safety Manager, Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Mr Oguche Samuel, has harped on the need for continuous awareness and education on safety at the nation’s airports.
He said the continuous safety education would create awareness to staff and stakeholders at the airports on their safety responsibilities.
Samuel disclosed this while addressing participants at the safety promotion day at the airport which focused on Foreign Object Deris (FOD),
He urged participants and staff to be good safety ambassadors in their day to day activities, stressing that safety is one of the core values of FAAN.
Meanwhile, the management of the Port Harcourt International Airport has keyed into the Airport Emergency Plan programme as plans are in full gear towards the certification of the airport.
The Tide reliably learnt that the management of the airport recently took steps in training staff in relevant departments on emergency plan.
Instructors from Accra in Ghana, it was gathered, were invited to train some of the staff of the airport in the later part of last year.
The training was aimed at developing staff capacity to effectively and efficiently handle emergency response with the certification of the airport.
FAAN Moves To Check Security Threats At Airside
Following reported cases of intrusion into airside at the nation’s airports, particularly at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at nights, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu has taken steps to install thermal and infrared cameras for airside monitoring and patrol.
The introduction of thermal and infrared cameras is meant to monitor and expose happenings or any intruder who manages to gain access to airports, especially at nights.
FAAN, in a press statement on Tuesday, said it took the steps because anything that happens at the airside, has a ripple effect on the aviation industry.
“We are mostly particular about the airside because at the end of the day, security and safety are paramount and anything that happens at the airside has a ripple effect and we are here to ensure that our airports are safe.
FAAN posited that it is a dangerous practice to go and open aircraft cargo door because of the engine blast which might occur on the process.
“The proximity switch and the plunder could vibrate when the engine level is moved above idle running; for some seconds, the light may flash and warning light will remain off. It is even an easy thing to open the cargo door while the engine is running.
“Rotation of the handle activates a torque tube to withdraw the latch rollers from the latch fitting and as the door swings on board under tension of the door balance mechanism, the door warning proximity switch is activated to energize the appropriate door warning in the control cabin to alert the Crewe”, FAAN stated.
Enumerating other efforts being made to tackle the problem, FAAN explained that the Authority has put patrol vans fitted with cameras on the dashboard to capture the environment during patrol, saying although this might be a temporary measure.
Our correspondent reports that there were reports of incidents of intruders allegedly opening the cargo compartment of aircraft either taxing or holding on the runway, particularly at the Lagos airport, which had become a cause of concern to FAAN management.
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