Chidoka restates essence of ‘Aviation Commits Initiative’
Insists to ground private jets used for commercial purposes
Says July 1 sacrosanct for compulsory employment of Nigerian pilots
AVIATION Minister, Chief Osita Benjamin Chidoka on Tuesday in Abuja, the nation’s capital, restated the federal government’s resolve to repackage, rebrand and redirect the aviation industry to begin to make meaningful contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Chidoka, whose feeling was upbeat at the interview he granted to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in its programme called ‘Good Morning Nigeria,’ said President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is so passionate about the aviation industry that he wants it to be re-evented and repositioned in order to play a key role in building the country’s economy.
It is for this reason, he revealed, that the President is throwing his weight behind his ministry and the parastatals and giving them all the support required in all the reforms that are taking place in the aviation sector.
As the minister said in that interview, the essence of this whole idea of rebranding Nigeria’s aviation industry is to turn the focus to the customers who to him are the real ‘kings and queens’, whose patronage is what sustains the sector.
His words: “What we have commissioned Aviation Commits to do is to redirect the aviation industry towards enhanced service delivery and customer satisfaction.”
He continued: “This is the first bold attempt by the aviation sector in Nigeria to acknowledge the need for service improvement to its customers and publicly commit to carrying out such improvement as appropriate.”
At the airports, he said, officials now carry out advanced passengers’ checks, do aircraft inspection, give weather advisory, handle customers’ complaints and give prompt feedback to customers.
On the side of the airline operators, they have committed to ensure that they receive confirmation of customers’ booking after purchasing their tickets. The operators also ensure for timely departure, security at the airport, comfortable waiting areas with facilities, safety in the air, prompt to redress complaints, timely feedback to customers and making sure that the report of the redress is forwarded to the officials of the relevant agencies.
Other things the airline operators must do are to always guarantee safe landing of their aircraft and ensure efficient baggage handling and retrieval.
Whereby these services are not provided the customers can then log in to APS (Aviation Portal Service) to report the breach of this commitment, either by charting or sending e-mail or better still, call the customer service line on 0700011111.
Chidoka in replying to one of the questions during the interview reaffirmed that the aviation commits initiative is about building a brand in line with global standards that will inspire trust and confidence among customers who are the lifeblood of the industry.
This initiative was launched in Lagos on February 3, 2015 by the Vice President, Architect, Mohammed Nemadi Sambo, represented by the Minister of National Planning, Abubakar Suleiman Olarenwaju.
He said Nigeria intends to actualize its plans to be a regional hub for African Aviation and that is why the country is championing the implementation of the Yamoussoukro decision to have an open sky throughout the Africa.
On the fate of private jets that have been identified to have been converted to commercial businesses, the minister said he has already directed the relevant parastatal to ground any of them that has not regularized its certificate of operation by March 1, 2015.
“Having identified General Aviation to be responsible for over 70 percent of air accidents, I have directed that all private registered airlines for general aviation which also carry on commercial business in Nigeria should be grounded until proper regularization of their registration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA),” Chidoka was quoted to have said.
Presently, there are 90 foreign-registered General Aviation and 111 Nigerian-registered aircraft operating for private use only.
Regarding the pronouncement he made on the day of the launch of aviation commits initiative directing that all airlines operating both general and commercial services in Nigeria must have a Nigerian pilot in their cockpit by July 1, 2015, the minister reiterated government resolve to make that date sacrosanct for the affected airlines. According to him, it makes no sense to have a good number of Nigerian pilots jobless while the airlines operating in Nigeria’s airspace are poaching expatriate pilots and engineers among themselves thereby destabilizing a strong safety culture.
“Government is not going back on its resolve to provide jobs for Nigerian pilots who are highly qualified like their foreign counterparts. That is why we came up with the policy thrust that Nigerians must begin to believe in themselves and our pilots who are qualified to fly should be given the opportunity by providing jobs for them. This agrees with government’s belief that only Nigerians can build Nigeria.”