Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Saleh Dunoma,tells IME AKPAN that the agency is ready for airport certifi cation, having committed resources to it, and put aircraft recovery and some other equipment in place.
Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Saleh Dunoma,tells IME AKPAN that the agency is ready for airport certifi cation, having committed resources to it, and put aircraft recovery and some other equipment in place. Resources committed to airport certifi cation I am not looking at it from the angle of resources put into this exercise, but I am looking at it from the level of achievement in terms of safety. Certifi cation is all about safety.
We have by way of going through the process of certifi cation achieved a lot of safety standards. Before this time, we had an assessment. Th e Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) did an assessment on all the safety issues at the airports. And then, Airport Council International (ACI) in conjunction with the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) also did assessment. So, we combined the two assessments both the one done by ICAO/ACI and the one done by NCAA. We put them together so that we can address them. We have been addressing them and NCAA is supervising us to confi rm whether those issues have been closed. So, as soon as we close them, NCAA will tell us if it is properly closed. If there are corrections, we will do the corrections.
Th e assessment as far as we are concerned is the level of safety standard we have achieved, which is higher than what it used to be before the certifi cation process. Th is is what is important to us. Resources, yes, we have put in some resources. Of course, there is no way you can achieve a level of safety without investing but what is important is the safety achievement. Items closed for certifi cation Th ere are so many items. If I remember rightly, there are over 100 items that we need to close. Th ere are some that have to do with procedures. Th ose ones are easy to close. Th ere are some that have to do with documentation.
For example, what we publish as FAAN as procedures or processes, when it is found. For example, if you say you have Category 9 fi re service, you must make sure you have it at 9; in terms of equipment, number of people, in terms of your documentation and your processes. So, if there are gaps in that, you have to make sure you close them. Th ere are so many of them in so many areas. On the airfi eld, that has to do with the airfi eld lightings and the runway itself, on personnel, documentation, training, and on maintenance. Th ere are so many covering the entire aspect of airport operations. As we speak, there are only few of them that needed to be closed. Challenges encountered in airport certifi cation Th e challenges at the beginning were resources.
At the beginning, we thought we might not need many resources. But at the end of the day, after the assessment, we discovered that we have a lot to do. Th e only thing we needed to do was to make provisions in our budget that these are special fund to address the certifi cation. Once we got the assessment and the fund provided, our engineers swung into action.
Th e engineers came with the estimate of how some of the technical issues, some of the documentation and some of the new things we need to provide to make sure that we close the gaps. So, with the provision in our budget, there was no issue again. Budget was provided and everything is going smoothly and that is why we are at this stage. Equipment put in place at the airports Not that they were not in place. We have aircraft recovery equipment for example in place. We have it in Kano, we have it in Lagos. But these are things you do not use regularly. For a long time, we have not used them, because we do not have any need to use them and I pray that we will not have any need to use them. But we must make sure they are functional at all times. We were asked to keep that equipment in the fi re station; it has to be tested regularly to make sure that it is functional. Before this time, it was not in the fi re station.
Th ese are some of the observations that were made. Not that we did not have it. Time-frame for airport certifi cation I cannot say how soon. As far as I am concerned, we are getting ready and we will make sure that we comply with all standards given by the NCAA. We have worked towards that, and it is left for them to look at what we have done and confi rm that we have properly closed all the items.
Or we have not and then, they will tell us what to do. Th ey (NCAA) are to do the certifi cation, we are to get ready.
As far as we are concerned, we are ready. Certifi cation is important. We would not know that there are lots of things-little things that we needed to do to make sure that we close all such items. Without the assessment, we would never know that there are open items. With certifi cation, everything was looked into, including documentation, sometimes, a telephone number for example in the emergency contact telephone numbers. In case of emergency, may be one person has been transferred and the phone number has changed and his name has changed. Under normal circumstances, we would not bother. But with the certifi cation, we must make sure that whoever is there is current. Certifi cation is making sure that everything is current and checked on regular basis.
It is not only getting the certifi cate but sustenance of the certifi cate is important. Yes, we have worked hard that we close the items, but we must sustain it. Also, what is important is the currency in terms of training of personnel. We must make sure that all personnel are properly trained. If you acquire equipment for example, we must make sure that people that will operate the machine are trained on that particular machine. We cannot bring an experience from another machine to another, because they are diff erent. Th ere is always change in technology.
We must change our operating procedure if there is a new model of a machine. And we must train the personnel so they are abreast with the new technology. NCAA will come and check all the changes from time to time. If NCAA fi nds out that there are so many things not done, they have the liberty to withdraw the certifi cate. We have to come up with maintenance system for our runway, airfi eld lightings. It is adding another level to the maintenance and sustenance of all operations to what we used to have before now. It has added another level to the improvement of safety at the airport. It is also going to make the airport users, especially the airlines more comfortable.
More comfortable in the sense that they know now that we have a standard that we must make sure we sustain. It will also go a long way in assuring the insurance companies that operator is doing a lot of things in line with what the regulator is say. It might even reduce insurance premium for the airline operators. State of preparedness of Lagos Airport for certifi cation As far as FAAN is concerned, we are ready. We have been working on this for quite some time now and most of the open items have been closed. But you see, if we close it, we need to go back to NCAA so that they can come and confi rm the closure.