The Aviation Round Table (ART), the think-tank and a major pressure group in the aviation industry, has called on the Federal Government to expeditiously inaugurate the board of directors of aviation agencies.
President, ART, Dr. Gabriel Olowo, in a position paper said, due to the nature of professionalism in the aviation sector, its critical nature together with safety issues, there is the fundamental need for the emplacement of boards of directors for prompt decision – taking.
While acknowledging the fact that Interim boards could fill administrative vacuum, he noted that agencies were not contemplated to run without functional boards for periods exceeding three months, stressing that ART was of the view that aviation sector policy makers adopt the international aviation best corporate governance for the promotion of safety.
He lamented that situations where the aviation agencies operate without formally inaugurated boards could cast a thick shadow on transparency, accountability and responsibility.
Piqued by the discomfort experienced by airline consumers resulting from flight delays and cancellations, the group implored the committee on Aviation to ensure the establishment of an airline clearing house as an instrument to facilitate the transfer of value on domestic flights.
His words, “It is our view at ART that the establishment of an airline clearing house would help reduce the discomforts suffered by passengers when flights are delayed or cancelled as the clearing house will enable one airline’s ticket to be exchanged for the ticket of another airline such that when excessive delays occur, or flights are cancelled such passengers can have their tickets endorsed to another airline on the next available flight utilizing such instrument”.
“To ensure compliance, we advise that any domestic operator that fails to register with the proposed payment airline clearing house could be denied an issuance or renewal of its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). To this end we further plead that the NCAA be empowered to be the lead authority responsible for the protection of consumers’ interest in the Aviation and allied services industry notwithstanding the provisions of any other.”
He also supported the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Bill that is before the National Assembly, saying that the ART is of the view that safety investigation and administration in the transportation should be all embracing.
Modern cities, according to him have long adopted multi-modal transportation system to ease the movement of people, goods and services.
“It is our view that the establishment being proposed should embrace these modern trends. We therefore recommend the change of title of the proposed agency to be Nigeria Transportation Safety Administration Bureau with its Chief Executive designated as Executive Chairman to be assisted by four Executive Vice Chairman representing Land, Water, Rail and Aviation Safety Investigation”.
“Also, we urge that you reconsider the wordings of the Bill regarding the objective of the agency. We propose for your consideration, the following as the objective; the objective of this Act is to provide an effective, legal and institutional framework for accident investigation of transportation occurrences in Nigeria and anywhere Nigerian interest is involved or when the transportation vehicle is a Nigerian carrier and makes recommendations to prevent future occurrences”.