The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has issued a warning to airline regulators that fail to perform their duties, saying they risk being blacklisted by the Federal Government.
The Minister also directed that all wet leases entering the country must include Nigerian pilots and cabin crew, in order to address the challenges of unfamiliarity with Nigerian terrain and communication issues resulting from the use of foreign personnel.
The Minister’s statement came after a flight diversion incident that occurred on Sunday, when a United Nigeria Airlines airplane that was supposed to land at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) in Abuja ended up at the Asaba International Airport.
The Minister also ordered the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) to provide a comprehensive report of all investigations carried out on air accidents and the causes of the incidents within 10 days.
Mr. Keyamo spoke to journalists on Monday night in Abuja, after a technical meeting with key aviation heads, including the Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Managing Director of Federal Airport Authority Nigeria (FAAN), the Director General of Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), and the Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
He said: “We are taking every step as a ministry to ensure the safety of lives of Nigerians who decide to travel by air. For the recent incidents that happened recently, some minor, and others classified as serious incidents although there was no fatalities, the NSIB is investigating these incidents and I have directed them that within 10 days from today they must submit their report of the incidents and what actually transpired.
“However, we have some preliminary and precautionary steps that are being taken by the ministry and the regulator. The incident that happened yesterday where a plane bound for Abuja ended up in Asaba, we have listened to the transcript produced by NAMA from the tower to the pilot and it was clear that when the pilot was taking off from Lagos he was headed to Asaba not Abuja.”