The International Civil
Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on Tuesday debated setting a tight deadline to improve the tracking of passenger planes in a push to prevent a recurrence of the still unresolved disappearance of Malaysia Airline flight MH370.
Officials at the United Nations safety conference also sought to tackle risks from conflict zones after another Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down over Ukraine.
The ICAO, the UN’s aviation arm urged airlines at the Montreal gathering not to wait to install tacking systems that are already available.
“We know that there are technologies available today Nancy Grahana, Director of ICAO’s Air Navigation Bureau said.
Britain, China and the United States backed ICAO proposals for new tracking guidelines that would apply from November 2016, an accelerated timetable in the often laborious process of aviation regulation.
Aircraft would have to send their position at least every 15 minutes or more often in case of emergency but it would be up to each country to decide how and when to implement this.
The rare UN gathering reflects pressure to show progress in time for the anniversary of MH370, after regulators and airlines were criticised for responding too slowly to French tracking recommendations after the crash of an Air France jet in 2009.
Malaysia said it was “unacceptable” or its data recorders could be lost, decades after satellites were invented.
But the industry faces competing technologies from equipment makers and some airlines object to the cost of a stop gap plan to make existing technology available within 12 months.
The conference also looked at how to protect airlines from missiles, but critics say this may not prevent another disaster like the downing of MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July.
“All the same problem which we already have are still going to be there in terms different countries having different messages and the airlines not really knowing who to listen to”, said Charlie Leocha, chairman of US-based consumer advocacy group Travellers United.
The fallout from MH17 has brought to the surface one of the key contradictions of modern aviation, the system of seamless global standards developed by ICAO over the last 70 years can conflict with individual states’ sovereignty.
Reuters reported that the management of airspace dates back to decisions taken after two world wars when it was decided sovereignty extended upwards to the skies, which would/not be open like high seas.
Now ICAO and airlines are wrestling with how to share information about perceived threats enroute without infringing the rights of other states to open or close their own airspace.
ICAO is proposing a scheme for pooling advice to pilots, though it falls short of demands by airlines for the sharing of genuine but carefully screened intelligence information
COVID-19: Arik Airline Sacks 300 Staff
At least 300 staff of Arik Air have been relieved of their appointments by the airline’s management.
This was announced in a statement by the airline on Friday.
It blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The press statement was titled, “Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant”.
The company explained that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
The statement read in part, “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.
“The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
The airline added that over 50 per cent of its workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months.
In a separate statement also forwarded to our correspondent by its Public Relations and Communications Manager, Banji Ola, the airline apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by the protest carried out by the National Union of Air Transport Employees on December 3, 2020.
The picketing disrupted operations in Lagos and prevented the airline from processing passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1 and 2.
S’East Leaders Laud FG Over EndSARS
South-East leaders on Saturday, lauded the Federal Government on the matured and responsive manner it handled all issues relating to the EndSARS protest and agitation.
The leaders of the zone, which included Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members as well as traditional, religious and youth leaders, gave the commendation in a communiqué issued after their meeting with a Presidential delegation in Enugu.
The presidential delegation was led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who is the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We thank President Buhari for the speed and restraint with which he handled the EndSARS protest, which has engendered peace throughout the country, especially the South-East.
“We, therefore, request the President to look into demands of various groups and youths with a view to resolving them,’’ the statement, which was read by the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor Dave Umehi, said.
It also called for joint operation by security agencies and local vigilant groups into all forests in the zone to flush out criminals and killer herdsmen with AK47 rifles.
“But we pledge our commitment to continuous coexistence with peaceful herdsmen who have been living peacefully with us.
“We stand for an indivisible and united Nigeria, built on love, fairness, equity and justice. We believe that under this platform – NIGERIA; we are bigger and stronger,’’ it said.
It also called on the Federal Government to continue its support and diplomatic push for the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be elected as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The statement thanked the Federal Government for the timely interventions in Akanu Ibiam International Airport rehabilitation as well as intervention in road infrastructures in the zone.
“We are grateful for the attention given to the second Niger Bridge and completion and inauguration of the Zik’s mausoleum.
“However, we urge the Federal Government to give attention to the completion of the current road projects within the zone,’’ it said.
The statement said that the states in the zone will provide money for the compensation for those affected by the EndSARS protest, help to rebuild police stations and their logistics; while engaging the youths constantly to forestall any violent development in the zone.
“We have plans to set up various empowerment programmes to gainfully engage the youths. The governors also plan to mainstream the youths in their governance to give them a sense of belonging.
Minister Hails Meeting With S’East Leaders
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as “extremely fruitful” the meeting which a presidential team had with leaders and stakeholders of the South-East.
“The meeting of the presidential delegation with South-East leaders was very useful,’’ Mohammed told journalists on Sunday in Enugu.
The delegation, led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, met for more than eight hours in Enugu with selected South-East leaders.
Mohammed said that it was quite instructive that all the groups which took part in the meeting believed in the unity and oneness of the country, pointing out that they clearly spelt out this in their presentations.
“We listened clearly and carefully to all the positions and demands and we are going back to report directly to President Buhari,’’ the minister said.
He noted that the Federal Government had been spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country, simultaneously and equitably.
“We want the South-East people to be confident that the Federal Government is spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country equitably and will never marginalise any zone in the ongoing development and infrastructure agenda.
“This is what I want to assure Nigerians living in the South-East,’’ Mohammed noted.
According to the minister, when the team gets back to Abuja it will see what can be done immediately concerning some of the positions and demands made by the South-East leaders.
The presidential delegation met with South-East governors, statesmen, elders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as market women and youth leaders.
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