Three Nigerian airlines have successfully obtained International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit Certification, known as IOSA. They are Arik Air, Aero Contractors and First Nation Airways.
IOSA is international safety standard which is given to an airline by IATA after it has been audited and met the recommended safety standard of the world aviation body and according to statistics; there is less number of air accidents involving airlines with IOSA certification compared to others without the certification. Transport ministers from African countries in 2012, agreed that all airlines operating in Africa must obtain IOSA as a prerequisite to operate in the continent and deadline was given as end of 2015.
This agreement is known as Abuja Declaration because the Ministers of Transport of various countries met at the Nigeria’s Federal Capital to endorse this agreement, but since then not many airlines operating in the region have met this given criterion. IATA has however initiated a program to assist airlines from the continent to meet the safety standard that will enable them comply with the safety requirements for IOSA certification.
Some other Nigerian airlines at the verge of attaining IOSA certification include Allied Air and Cargo services, Overland Airways and Dana Air, while Air Peace, which is a new airline has done its last workshop but is about to be audited.
The IATA team led by the newly appointed Regional Director for Africa, Tanja Grobotek, paid familiarization visit to the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Capt. Muhtar Usman, at the authority’s headquarters in Lagos recently.
While commending NCAA for a long-standing collaboration with IATA on operational safety, she expressed optimism in seeing more airlines obtain IOSA certification, which would be a boost to the industry. She also hinted that there are roundtable conferences on the impacts of environment on aviation under the leadership of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) billed for March 10, 2016 in which Nairobi and Nigeria have been tipped in Africa to host.
IATA Area Manager (South West Africa), Samson Fatokun who accompanied the visiting Regional Director also stated that there are training programs lined up for NCAA by IATA this year which he hopes would be approved by the authority.
The Director General of NCAA, Usman, in his response, thanked the IATA team for their visit and expressed willingness to partner the international body on issues of safety, security and training.