The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has concluded plans to carry out a compulsory financial viability and safety audit of airlines to ensure that they have the resources and technical skills to operate safely.
NCAA Director General, Captain Fola Akinkuotu, said in a statement in Lagos at the weekend that the technical audit started with Dana Air few months ago and all the airlines operating in the country must be audited. Akinkuotu also warned travellers to desist from raising false alarm while on board an aircraft as it is against civil aviation's rules.
His warning came against the backdrop of the false smoke alarm raised by a passenger on board an Overland Airways scheduled flight from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to Ibadan Airport on Friday.
NCAA said as a measure of audit, the regulatory body would carry out daily ramp inspection on all operating aircraft before any take-off.
"We will undertake intermittent economic audit of airlines to ascertain their financial health so as not to impact on safety," a statement signed by the agency's General Manager, Public Affair, Fan Ndubuoke, said.
NCAA noted that a wholesale audit was altogether being carried out on all operating aircraft in the country, adding that IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) which was hitherto voluntary is now mandatory for all airlines.
"Recently, 52 consumer protection officers were deployed to all airports in the country to ensure passengers get value for the fares they paid and attend to all complaints resulting from their flights," Ndubuoke said.
NCAA also reiterated that apart from the conditions of carriage enshrined in the passenger's tickets, there are certain responsibilities attached.
"Both the airlines and passengers have symbiotic role to play to ensure a safe and secure operation. "We respect the passengers' right to report any unusual situation either safety or security threat at the terminals or on board the aircraft to airline officials or any member of the crew. Thus by their own training, they will provide prompt and adequate response to ameliorate the situation," NCAA added.
The agency however expressed delight that most of the passengers on board the Overland flight praised the pilots and the crew following the professional manner in which they ensured a safe evacuation and pushed back the aircraft to the apron.