Lagos — Nigerian airlines will enjoy the benefit of operating direct flights to the United State as the country has retained the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) category one status.
Nigeria scaled the hurdle after the safety audit of the country's civil aviation industry recently. It would be recalled that a team from the US FAA had visited the country last year to carry out the audit.
Three months after the visit, it was learnt that the country scaled the hurdle retaining the category one status which it attained in 2010.
The CAT One was imposed by the US Congress some 45 years ago for any airline flying through the US Airspace to attain. Such airlines are presumed to operate with the highest safety standards.
In Nigeria, Arik which used to operate to New York has suspended the flights in 2016 but there are plans by the airline to resume the flights. It was further gathered that two indigenous carriers are also warming up to launch flight operations to US before the end of the year.
General Manager, Public Affairs of NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye explained that if an airline is designated to US today, that carrier is entitled to fly into the country directly.
He said the major benefit of the audit is the prestige it confers to the nation as a nation that belongs to the top echelon of nations of the world operating in accordance with acceptable international standard in aviation.
With Cat-1-Status, Adurogboye said that it saves cost since operators do not need to fly to other countries before going to the US.
"ICAO audited us and we scored over 90 per cent. FAA came; interestingly, when FAA came in 2014, they wrote that they are coming to recertify us on the account of what they are reading in our media. So they too begin to wonder because they were here few years ago.
"So having gone back when we retained the certification and again they are reading something else again from the so called views of experts."