26 January 2018

Nigeria: Govt Okays Flight Safety Laboratories, Upgrade for Accident Investigation

Federal Government has approved the upgrade of material science, and flight safety laboratories, to enhance accident investigation in the aviation sector.

The Guardian learnt that the upgrading to high-tech facilities will aid efficient running of investigation procedure and timely release of findings.

In a related development, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), has concluded plans to release another six accident reports by the end of March. The new report will bring the number of recent releases to 16 out of the 27 pending at the Bureau.

The flight safety laboratory is where the Flight Data Recording (FDR), and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), otherwise known as the black boxes of aircraft are downloaded.

AIB Commissioner, Akin Olateru, at an investigators' training in Lagos, explained that the contract for the laboratories dated back to 2008, and was executed in 2012.

However, "If you buy your computer in 2008, and compare it with what we have in 2018, you need to upgrade the software. There must be some upgrade. It is just to upgrade what we have and to incorporate very important component which is the training side of it.

"This is part of this contract, to continuously train people on how to use the equipment and the analysis of the data is the one that is most critical and you can't train an expert in one week. It is an ongoing thing and that is the whole essence of the upgrade. Thank God for the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the upgrade was approved on Wednesday for us to do proper accident investigation," Olateru said.

He added that in line with global recommendation, accident investigation should be concluded within a year.

"When we came in, I did a review. We had 27 pending accident reports. Some dates back to 2005, and we were in 2017. I was wondering what really went wrong. Just like the Commissioner, Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA), Caj Frostell, said accident investigation should be concluded within a year. We set everything in motion.

"Funding was another problem. In carrying out accident investigation, you need a lot of resources; manpower and finance. We pushed everything in motion and through the support of the Minister of State for Aviation, he gave us maximum support, and we did what we were supposed to do. To the glory of God, we released 11 reports by December 2017.


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