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New era in Nigeria’s aviation beckons

Over the years, Nigeria has strived very hard to develop its aviation sector to ensure viability, sustainability and affordability. Aside from the development of facilities,…

Over the years, Nigeria has strived very hard to develop its aviation sector to ensure viability, sustainability and affordability.

Aside from the development of facilities, there is a need for adequate regulatory environment, competitive operators, safety and passenger convenience.

Among the key governmental agencies involved in charting the path and sustaining the implementation of world best practice in Nigeria are FAAN, NAMA and NCAA.

Many casual stakeholders (especially air travellers) are oblivious of the demarcation of duties and responsibilities among these agencies. This ignorance, incidentally, serves a good purpose of forcing coercion in their activities to the good of the overall performance.

The man, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, is a veteran of the Aviation Industry. His checkered career is littered with success milestones in Aircraft Operations as well as Administration.

An ICAO/ACI Accredited International Airport Professional, the landmarks are too many to enumerate here, more so as that is not the direct objective of this article.

However, it is pertinent to say that his coming into the current office was a highly welcome development that indicated the federal government’s genuine interest in reformation and ascendancy to the ‘next-level’.

Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu is an insider whose immediate past positioning as the Director of Airport Operations (DAO), of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) prepared him in advance for this new responsibility.

He had previously marshalled the project that led to the Aerodromes Certifications of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, in 2017.

A Pilot by training (Captain on the B747, Citation Sovereign and the Learjet 45XR )with over 7000hrs of flying time, Captain Yadudu, incidentally, is an experienced Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer(Avionics). He gives the kind of confidence the layman would have when his chauffeur is also a certified Auto- Mechanic.

Upon assuming office, Captain Hamisu identified the key areas that would form the focal points of his administration – Human Capacity Creation, Development and Utilisation; Infrastructure Upgrade and Maintenance and Improvement in Processes & Procedures.

In the last one year, a lot has happened within these elements under his jurisdiction that are worthy of note and highly commendable.

In the first instance, continuous training/capacity building of staff, especially those in the Aviation Security, Fire & Rescue, Operations, Safety and Engineering Departments, has received a new impetus.

The big idea is to train a first set of fifty staff up to Instructor Standard. These pioneers will be responsible for cascading the knowledge garnered across the entire staff in each functional area. This is in recognition of the need to continually bring staff up to date with emerging technologies and best practice, without necessarily expending so much on foreign training.

Another notable achievement is the upgrade of the FAAN Training School at MMIA Lagos to a world class standard. The school is now an ICAO accredited Aviation Security Training Centre, which is further primed to attaining the ICAO  Trainer status. Currently, it is a hosting facility for ACI and ICAO training programmes. It is interesting to note that several of such programmes have since been held at the centre, to the delight of stakeholders.

In terms of education of staff children, Captain Yadudu has set in motion the process for establishment of university education scholarships for the top five scholars of  staff children from each of the federal regions. This is to encourage academic excellence and assist FAAN staff with the burden of child education cost.

In further pursuit of the infrastructure development objective, the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Runway, Enugu, was closed for rehabilitation and work is at an advanced stage preparatory to re-opening.

Yadudu has beamed its searchlight upon the Airport Road Toll Operations, with a view to upscaling the revenue generated from such operations across the country. Although this is still work in progress, there is continuous engagement of critical stakeholders to ensure proper coordination and constructive collaboration towards infrastructure development.

Another initiative taken by the Captain Yadudu administration at FAAN is the establishment of a working committee to review the viability of all existing airports. The idea is to identify and implement the required actions and activities to promote patronage of these facilities for passenger, charter and cargo businesses.

In his quest to ensure adequate feedback and input from the entire Staff, Captain Yadudu has established an initiative, whereby a dedicated telephone line is available for direct link to him. This cuts the red-tape and allows direct incident reporting and grievance resolution. This initiative keeps even the Management Cadre on their toes and ensures improved performance across board.

So, dear Nigerians, get ready to be safely served in this COVID-19 era of Nigerian Aviation!

Like the popular saying, success is a journey. As the days progress, it will be interesting to observe how the FAAN manages its successes and possibly scales up on them. It will certainly be interesting to review and compare results at the end of the second year of the life of this administration. Nigeria must be great again!

Dan Aibangbe, a Media & Public Relations Consultant wrote from Lagos ( danaibangbe@yahoo.com)