NASS meets airlines regulator, cautions against flight delays, cancellations
The Joint National Assembly Committee on Aviation has expressed concern over incessant flight delays and cancelations experienced by passengers in the country’s aviation industry.
The Senate and House Committee Chairmen on Aviation, Smart Adeyemi and Nnolim Nnaji, made this known in a joint briefing during an oversight visit to the Lagos office of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority on Friday in Lagos.
Adeyemi said that the essence of the oversight function was to get first-hand information on some of the challenges confronting the aviation sector.
He said: “Nigerians are not happy with the way and manners airlines operate in the country, passengers are left at the mercy of airline operators.
“Passengers are being delayed at the airport for over five to six hours without apologies or compensation/
“If Nigerian airline operators can no longer manage their fleets, it will not be out of place for us to bring foreign companies to run the domestic airlines.
“Today, we can not predict movement of airlines, if not for security challenges in the country, it would be better to travel by car. Why would somebody stay at the airport for hours and nobody is talking to you,” he said.
Adeyemi, however, warned NCAA to brace up to its responsibility in ensuring adequate sanctions were meted to any airline operator that violates the regulations.
He said that henceforth, the two-chamber committees would set up a committee that would look into flight delays and cancelations with adequate compensation.
“The two chambers will take up the responsibility of ensuring Nigerians have value for their monies and we are going to announce those airlines that are not worthy.
“The essence of flying is to meet and accelerate appointments but one will be there for nine hours and no airline is talking to you.
“Currently, the airline operators are making huge money now, tripple what they are making during COVID-19.
“But they are capitalising on COVID-19, passengers are no longer served in the airlines. No courtesy or respect to passengers. All this will have to stop,” he added.
Adeyemi commended NCAA for steering the affairs of the aviation sector, adding that the national assembly would see to some of the issues raised.
He said that huge funds had been injected into the aviation sector under President Muhammadu Buhari, which the lawmakers must ensure the aviation sector is running as it should be.
He added that some of the challenges raised by the director-general of NCAA were contained in the new act governing the aviation sector that had been passed.
“So far, we have passed about five bills of the agencies, the only one left before the Senate is the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) bills.
Similarly, the Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nnaji, urged the director-general of NCAA to provide a document that would reflect the challenges and issues confronting the aviation industry.
He said that NCAA remains the engine room of the sector, adding that the agency had lived to expectations in ensuring the aviation industry performed excellently.
On flight delays and cancelations, he urged NCAA to investigate what was responsible for it. According to him, there is need to know if the airlines carry more boarding or routes that are not part of their schedule.
He advised that some of the airlines needed to offload some of the additional routes to create more efficient and effective services for passengers.
He said the reason most airlines delay passengers was because they carry some additional routes that affect existing passengers.
Nnaji urged NCAA to oversee the activities of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the airports, adding that there were so many congestions at the country’s airports.
“We have so many congestions at the terminal building. Sometimes, conveyor belts and excallators are not working in some airports. These are the responsibilities of NCAA to see that FAAN is working and lives up to expectations.
“Oftentimes, there are so many congestions at the airports. Lots of issues is associated with Nigerian airports which need to be addressed,” he said.
Earlier, Capt. Musa Nuhu, Director- General, NCAA, commended the committees for the passage of the Civil Aviation Act and Acts of other aviation agencies.
Nuhu said that the Act had long been awaiting passage for over 15 years, which the ninth assembly has successfully passed.
On in-house training of staff, the director-general said that the authority focused more on staff training and re-training, which was the core focus of the agency.
He said that in the last two years, over 180 people had been trained in-house, which included technical inspectors and other fields.
He said that the authority had saved the country with the sum of $3 million and an additional ₦129 million for conducting various training in-country.
“The authority has developed in-house capacity to deliver the course, the lead instructor is an ICAO-certified instructor and an ICAO certified Auditor in the Personnel Licensing audit area.
“There is an assistant instructor and three On the-Job instructors for efficient and seamless succession,” he said.
On flight delays and cancelations, Nuhu said that there were so many factors mitigating against it.
He assured that henceforth, the authority would ensure appropriate sanctions were meted down to any airline that violates the regulations.
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