The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji, has called for more funding of the aviation agencies so as to enable them to cope with the increase in demand for air travel.
Honourable Nnaji stated this in Abuja on Monday during an interaction between the committee and the heads of agencies, led by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Engineer Hassan Musa.
In the course of the interaction, a motion was made to look into claims of engine failure and bird strikes that almost caused the fatal crash of aircraft departing Kano and Port Harcourt Airports for Abuja.
The House in plenary had mandated the committee on aviation to summon the Ministry and its agencies to give clarifications on the two incidents to avoid a major disaster in future.
The chairman demanded assurances from the team which included the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA) Captain Musa Nuhu, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN), Captain Rabiu Yadadu, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, (NAMA), Captain Fola Akintotu, and the Commissioner Accident Investigation Bureau, (AIB) Engineer Akin Olateru that flying was still safe.
He stressed that the insecurity in the country has placed high premiums on air travel which required that the Ministry and the agencies need to do more to sustain the safety records the country has achieved in the past years.
The Permanent Secretary assured that the problem of a bird strike was a worldwide phenomenon and several studies have proved that it doesn’t pose much threat to safety.
His assertion was corroborated by the trio of Captain Musa Nuhu of NCAA, Captain Rabiu Yadudu of FAAN and the Commissioner Accident Investigation Bureau, Engineer Akin Olateru.
According to Captain Yadudu, bird strikes negatively impact airline finances more than safety, and cost airline companies hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometimes as much as a million dollars to replace engine damage caused by birds.
Heads of the agencies, particularly FAAN’s Managing Director Captain Yadudu explained that a lot of funding was needed for the upgrade of some of the aviation facilities, including bird strike control equipment.