Reporting Live from South West Africa
First Nation Airways
First Nation Airways a domestic airline in Nigeria was formally presented in February 2016 with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) Certificate.
The certificate was presented to the airline’s Director of Flight Operations, Capt. Chimara Imediegwu by IATA’s Area Manager, South West Africa, Mr. Samson Fatokun in Lagos.
First Nation Airways has now joined Arik Air and Aero Contractors as the only IOSA certified airlines operating in Nigeria.
First Nation began the certification process in January 2014 in line with the Abuja Declaration of 2012 that all African airlines should complete their IOSA certification by December 2015 towards enhancing air safety in the continent. Out of the ten airlines chosen to undergo the certification, First Nation Airways was the first to complete the process.
Congratulating First Nation on successfully completing the IOSA certification Samson Fatokun commented, "IOSA certification is a rigorous process. In becoming IOSA registered, First Nation has joined a leading group of global airlines committed to ensuring that they are operating to the highest safety standards. The next step for First Nation is to join our airline partners through full IATA membership and help strengthen our voice as we work to tackle the many broad and complex issues facing aviation in Africa."
Partnering for the Mutual Benefit of Releasing Airlines’ Blocked Funds in Nigeria
Nigeria, the largest African economy, has been hit by low commodity prices on the world market. The continuous free fall of the oil price has considerably depleted the country’s foreign exchange reserves. For some months, the Central Bank of Nigeria has not been able to adequately fund the demand of different sectors for foreign exchange (forex), including aviation. Airlines have been finding it increasingly challenging to repatriate their funds from Nigeria. To address the situation IATA took the following steps:
- A collaborative strategy was developed by members of IATA's Southwest Africa Office in Nigeria, the Regional Office in Amman, the AME Members and External Relations (MER) division, the payment services team in Geneva and the Vice President of Africa to deploy support at various levels.
- In Nigeria IATA held a Local Customer Advisory Group (LCAG) meeting with national and international airlines on November 4th 2016 to fully understand the scope of the forex issue and receive a clear mandate from the airlines to engage on their behalf. A committee of airlines was set up to work with IATA to engage the Nigerian authorities.
- The Committee engaged with the Nigerian Minister of State for Aviation on December 3rd 2015, the Minister of Finance on December 11th 2015 and finally the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on December 18th 2015.
The lobbying and advocacy work resulted in a commitment by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide the airlines with additional foreign exchange through the weekly interbank auction. Through partnering for mutual benefit much has been achieved although there is still more to be done. The volume of forex being release is still less than is desired by our members. IATA remains committed to working with its airline partners in Nigeria towards finding a long-term solution.
Picture taken during on the engagement
of the local task force and IATA with the Governor of the Central Bank of
Ensuring the Implementation of SAE Recommendations at Lagos International Airport
One of the challenges encountered by the Security Access and Egress (SAE) program has been the implementation of the short, medium and long term recommendations of the audit. In July 2014, IATA Africa and Middle East led an SAE exercise at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria. The audit recommendations were presented to the Senior Management of the airport. Unfortunately implementation has been slow.
As a result the IATA office in Lagos requested an urgent implementation review meeting with the Senior Management of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The meeting held on February 2nd 2016 prompted the Deputy Managing Director of FAAN to requested that an immediate onsite implementation evaluation be conducted at the airport. A review of the initial recommendations was conducted, implementation action items set and timelines were established. IATA invited the AOC Chairman, who is also the Station Manager of Emirates, to witness the review and provide input.
IATA will be holding a review meeting with the airport in three-month to review the level of implementation. The Area Manager, Mr. Samson Fatokun, and the FAAN Area Manager will also be engaging monthly with the airport to review progress.
Picture taken during the implementation review exercise