Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has granted operational permits to Birnin Kebbi, Jigawa (Dutse) and Bauchi International Airports.
The Director General of NCAA, Capt. Muhktar Usman said in Lagos that the airports were also designated to airlift pilgrims for this year’s hajj to Saudi Arabia.
He said increase in the volume of passengers at airports across the country had necessitated NCAA’s adoption of International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) methodology to deal with the situation.
“It is instructive to note that due to the upsurge in number of passengers in Nigeria, NCAA has keyed to a new ICAO methodology designed to accommodate the increase in traffic worldwide. This led to the formation of Aviation Safety Block Upgrade (ASBU) Committee in Nigeria.
“The regulatory authority has evaluated and granted approval for Airports Security Program (ASP) at majority of the airports. Others are undergoing assessment for approval. This is expedient in the face of global security challenges,” he said.
In recognition of the increase in the volume of passengers, Muhktar said the agency’s directorate of consumer protection (DCP) had taken steps to process complaints and ensure comfort of air travellers.
Besides, he said Nigeria had therefore become an attractive destination for foreign airlines and ceaseless application for additional frequencies.
Currently, he said Nigeria has Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with 78 countries.
However, he said some of the agreements were yet to be utilized but to strengthen and widen BASA with existing and new countries Nigerian delegates would be attending an ICAO Air Services Negotiation Conference (ICAN) in Bali, Indonesia.
“As in the past, the ICAN will provide states with a central meeting place to conduct multiple bilateral air services negotiations or consultations. It will offer participants excellent networking opportunities. NCAA through its robust regulation has been able to drive aviation to a very high pedestal of development. The traffic will definitely continue to increase,” he added.
Thereafter, he said NCAA, as the policy arm of the ministry of aviation “is to constantly advise the supervising ministry and proffer robust policies that will provide the platform for adequate regulation of the aviation industry.”
He added: “In terms of policy thrust, especially from the regulatory perspective it is within our framework to propound policy guidelines to drive aviation activities in Nigeria. All these policies fall under our instruments of regulation. Nigeria is a member of ICAO and therefore a substantial part of our regulatory instruments and policies are derivable for ICAO Annexes and documents.
“In addition to these, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs), other legislations and conventions in line with the standard and recommended practices are used to provide regulation in the industry. Enforcement and Sanctions are definitive recourse when there is a violation.
“With these capacities, NCAA has over the years been able to acquaint itself creditably with effective and efficient regulation of the aviation industry. A major testimony is the attainment and retention of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 and International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme.