The Federal Government has been advised to initiate a bill that would separate the safety and economic regulatory functions of air business to ensure a robust industry.
Secretary-General, Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd.), gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos.
The aviation expert said that the economic regulatory functions should be taken away from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The NCAA, according to him, should not be further entrusted with overseeing economic regulations, because it has not performed well in regulating air business.
He suggested the establishment of Civil Aviation Commerce Board (CACB) to regulate air trade, while NCAA retained its regulatory functions for air safety.
“The CACB should be tasked to promote and regulate civil aviation commerce within and between Nigeria and foreign countries in the interest of the air business.
“As such, the approval of scheduled commercial air routes Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) and Commercial Agreements should be considered air commerce function and accordingly the responsibilities of the CACB,” he said.
Ojikutu, however, noted that the only authority on civil aviation regulations, oversight, and enforcement for safety, security and economy on all operators was NCAA and not the ministry.
He said it was regrettable that the immediate past leadership of NCAA lagged behind on safety enforcement regulations on the public operators and the economic regulations on the private operators.
On the private operator’s side, the expert said that NCAA was not enforcing economic regulations on the airlines, which negatively affected their finance.
“Four airlines such as Arik, Aero, First Nation and Medview in the last three years have gone into economic downturn or breakdown,” he said.
He called on the aviation security, particularly at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), to support the current administration to perform its duty.
Five per cent of the charges on tickets sales, cargo freight fees and invoices on chartered flights showed that there were sufficient funds, he noted, urging the regulatory body to use the funds for maintenance in all the airports.
The funds, he added, could also be used for regular human capital development for safety in the sector.