Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have jointly inaugurated an 11-man committee that would review the latter’s response to safety recommendations issued by the former on accidents, serious incidents.
The spokesman for AIB, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi quoted the commissioner of the bureau, Mr. Akin Olateru to have said at the committee’s inauguration in Abuja that the committee would also consider any other areas of cooperation that would improve safety of aircraft operations in Nigeria.
He emphasised that the committee would also coordinate activities with regard to occurrences, respect for the mandate and responsibilities of each organisation, effective and efficient exchange of information and data amongst others.
Olateru stated that both government agencies nominated five representatives each to the committee, while one representative was nominated by the ministry of aviation.
He also said the two agencies had worked together to ensure effective discharge of their duties which include establishing and promoting higher levels of safety.
“These 11 Joint Committee members will collaborate in the review of NCAA’s responses to safety recommendations issued by AIB on accidents and serious incidents.
“The committee will see to the implementation and continuous operation of the state safety programmes in Nigeria and any other areas of cooperation that will enhance safety of aircraft operations in Nigeria,” he said.
He emphasised that NCAA is in charge of regulating the industry, while AIB focuses on investigating serious incidents and accidents to promote safety in the aviation sector.
Olateru reiterated AIB’s readiness to cooperate and collaborate with other the agencies and organisations, both in Nigeria and abroad, in ways that would ensure continuous safe skies in Nigeria, West Africa and the world.
In his remarks, the director general of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, explained that the primary objective of establishing the committee was to ensure the enhancement of thorough coordination, collaboration and cooperation processes and public safety in aviation industry.
According to him, such coordination had been taking place between the authority and the bureau, although inconsistently and informally.
He said the setting up of the committee was a giant stride for the two agencies to perform their functions in the areas of safety oversight and investigation of accidents and serious incidents with a view to determining probable causes and implement safety recommendations in order to prevent recurrence.
Nuhu emphasised that it was expected that safety and accident investigation experts would have the opportunity to sit together and review safety recommendations that have been proposed by the bureau and the responses provided by the authority.
He said the two agencies are vested with the responsibility of the implementation of the state safety programme.
Nuhu pointed out that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig. CARs) Part 20 on Safety Management requires that both authorities have access to appropriate information in the incident reporting system Mandatory Occurrence Reporting (MOR) and the Non-Punitive Reporting System to support safety responsibilities.
“Pursuant to the above, both authorities are striving towards establishing compatible software to enable the sharing of safety data and this also is part of the mandate of this committee.
“It is also important that this committee continuously reviews the requirements of the Nig. CARs and the implementation of responsibilities it assigns to the Civil Aviation Regulations (Investigations of Air Accidents and Serious Incidents),” he said.
He also said another area of cooperation is the clarity on what constitutes a serious incident.
Nuhu said the attachment C of Annex 13 gives guidance that is not all inclusive, which could be open to subjective interpretation and application.
He urged the committee to continuously engage in ensuring the establishment of conclusions devoid of ambiguous interpretations so as to ensure frictionless and seamless description of lines of responsibilities.
“The committee will have to determine the detailed modality and methodology of implementation to ensure that there will be no compromise.
“This is necessary, as we are supposed to have a global perspective to the final reports being issued by the bureau, as they do not constitute AIB reports per say, but Nigerian report and are ultimately available in the public space,” he said.
He further urged the committee to address establishment of procedures for timely transfer of occurrence to ensure valid and valuable evidences were not degraded or completely lost before the transfer authority began investigation.