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FAA Category One Audit: NCAA Hopeful

 The acting Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Benedict Adeyileka expressed hope that Nigeria would retain the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category One safety status that enables Nigerian registered aircraft to operate into the North American country.

The audit which started on Monday last week was concluded on Thursday and at the media briefing at the Lagos airport, Adeyileka said, “Nigerians should be expecting good works. If we have had this kind of support that we had in a couple of days from the press, there would not be necessarily this kind of audit.”

He said that the audit has helped Nigeria because it has raised the country’s standards, adding that NCAA was prepared.

“We could do better and better, so these auditors here, their job is to come here and audit and go away and submit their reports within the next 10 days. They will hand it over to the higher authority.”

Adeyileka said that most of the processes were in tandem with the expectations of the audit, adding, “Most of the non-compliances in our own opinion have been complied with and we are going to have the final debrief and this is where most of the works start.  Now we know which areas we are going to work on now and we are going to be in compliance.”

The acting Director General explained that FAA need  to fine-tune Nigeria’s regulations, remarking that the country has a regulation committee with a chairman, but needed it fine-tuned to make sure that the country’s regulations meet the standards of  ICAO regulations  so that everything on ICAO would be complied with.

But informed source said that Nigeria is behind in the training of inspectors and industry training involving pilots of commercial airlines and cabin crew; it is one of the open items which the regulatory body is expected to close.

“Training, we have looked into training, we are aware of training, it is a very difficult thing, because training is a continuous thing, it is not a one off thing. We have recurrent training and currency training. It is not an issue; it is the   compliance with the training that is the issue.

There was nothing FAA picked on in this audit that we are not aware of, so that is the rule, but even if they picked up a noncompliance issue some of them are administrative  areas of noncompliance and  they will still record it as noncompliance  even though we have complied with it.”

He said NCAA was not worried  about the administrative noncompliance, but might be worried about the noncompliance that might be out of its control “like the  type of simulator  and how to get it, we are going to work on that one any way.”

On whether Nigeria would retain the Category One status, he said that no one could say now whether Nigeria would retain it or not because the team that came to audit would submit its report to higher authorities which would evaluate the report and indicate whether Nigeria would retain the status or not.

“I don’t want to speculate, I don’t want to start counting the chicken before the chicks lay the eggs. We are looking at eight critical elements, with the debrief we had so far there is nothing really to worry about.” 

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