Five Nigerian airlines meet global safety standard

Nigeria's Aviation Minister, Mr. Hadi Sirika

Five of Nigeria’s 23 airlines have currently completed and passed the global safety certification by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), report has shown.

The IOSA certification audit is an internationally recognized and accepted evaluation that assesses the operational management and control systems of an airline. IOSA uses stringent audit principles that see airlines evaluated every two years.

The IATA on its webpage said Air Peace Limited, Allied Air Ltd, Arik Air Ltd, Azman Air services and Overland Airways Ltd are the certified airlines in Nigeria as of Friday. Nigeria has 23 operational commercial airlines, according to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.

The certification of all five airlines will expire in 2021. While the registration for Air Peace will expire on December 2, Allied Air will expire on August 14. Azman Air service will expire on September 13, and Overland Airways’ certification will expire on October 25.

IATA said Arik’s re-evaluation could not be conducted in 2020 due to COVID-19, so the airline will remain on the registry till April 2021.

In 2018, Arik Air, Aero Contractors, Allied Air, and Cargo services, Overland Airways, Medview, Dana Air and Air Peace were certified. But three years after, Dana Air, Medview and Aero contractors are not on the list.

However, registering for IOSA certification and auditing is not mandatory. An airline that does not have IOSA certification may have chosen not to participate, or failed the audit.

Small budget and regional airlines often do not do the IOSA audit mainly because of the cost to have the audit conducted and to implement the recommended changes.

The report of global aviation safety for 2020 released on Thursday by the IATA showed that IOSA certified airlines had a crash rate three times less than airlines not on the IOSA registry.

Also, the 2016-2020 average of IOSA airlines versus non-IOSA airlines was more than twice as good.

There are currently 438 airlines on the IOSA registry of which 142 are non-IATA Members.

Nigeria’s airlines that achieved the IOSA are some of the country’s most active.

Ironically, one of them, Azman Air, recently came under local regulatory sanctions over safety concerns.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, two weeks ago suspended the airline, saying its aircraft had been involved in multiple incidents that could have serious consequences if not addressed.

The NCAA said its inspectors found an Azman Air maintenance engineer carrying out replacement of a landing gear wheel assembly of a Boeing 737-500 without referring to the manufacturer’s maintenance manual.

Also, it said in February, a component of an Azman’s aircraft was observed to have fallen off during takeoff, and despite being notified by the air traffic control, the pilot continued the flight to Lagos. Upon arrival, the pilot failed to make entry in the aircraft technical logbook.

Five days later, the same aircraft suffered burst tyres during landing, with resultant severe damage to the aircraft engine and fuselage.

The Accident Investigation Bureau is currently investigating the incident.

Azman Air denied an earlier statement attributed to the company accusing the regulator of unprofessionalism and taking a hasty decision.