Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has said that with the retention of the FAA Category One status in-house , the capacity of the Nigeria Aviation industry has improved just like their counterparts in the international scene.
Sirika made the observation during the presentation of the category one certification to him by the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Capt Usman Mukhar at the NCAA Annex in Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
“I thank the DG and his team for doing us proud to retain the category one certification which has been presented to me. The travelling public might not be aware but we in aviation are aware of the feat.”
Receiving the certificate, the minister thanked Capt Usman for making Nigeria proud, emphasizing that the Category one status is very significant to the industry.
Usman, who presented the certification as a birthday gift to the minister, said, “in 2010, attained category one status, in 2014, we sustained it. In 2018, we have been able to retain it.
According to Usman, in-house personnel were used to achieve the feat unlike before when external assistances were sought.
He also read the official email conveyed to him by the FAA Administrator, Mr. Dan Elwell, indicating that the country had scaled the audit exercise.
Nigeria has scaled through a recent re-certification audit conducted on its aviation facilities by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
A team of auditors from the FAA had visited Nigeria for the audit of the safety status of the country’s civil aviation industry in November 2017.
The audit was for the Category One (Cat 1) certification that enables direct flight connections between the US and other countries.
It was gathered that the FAA Administrator, Mr. Dan Elwell, had conveyed the message of the country scaling the audit exercise to the Director General/CEO of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Muhtar Usman.
It was also learnt that a fresh certification from the FAA on the new status would be issued the country before the end of March 2018.
The –re-certification status will enable Nigerian registered carriers to continue to fly directly to the United States of America. There are eight critical elements required to be fulfilled before a country can scale the FAA audit.
The eight critical elements are: legislation, regulations, organisations, technical staff, technical guidance tools, licensing, continuous surveillance and resolution of safety concerns. While in Nigeria, the FAA had carried out intensive internal aviation safety assessment of the sector and there were fears that Nigeria may not retain the status it earned in September 2010.
Nigeria it was gathered retained the status after NCAA, and other major agencies in the sector closed all the identified “open items” when the FAA team visited Nigeria in August, 2017 to lodge complaints of some lapses in its regulatory oversight function