Sustaining Safety on the Nation’s Airspace
Air transport is the fastest means of commuting the public from one location to another.
Its impact on economic development of any nation is massive.
Nigeria used to operate a national carrier known as “Nigeria Airways” before it went into liquidation in 2004.
Since that time, Nigeria’s airspace has been operated by conglomerates owning fleets, running both domestic and foreign transportation.
The operations are either managed directly by the airlines or outsourced.
An essential aspect of air transportation is safety and this cannot be compromised as the lives of the travelling public must be protected to have a thriving aviation industry.
However, in the recent past, the nation’s aviation industry has witnessed loss of lives and property worth billions of naira.
The most recent was the air crash that involved an aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Airforce in Abuja where seven personnel lost their lives.
The number of people dying through plane crashes can be controlled if all airlines employ capable hands and purchase modern and air worthy aircraft.
The recurrence of air crashes in Nigeria has brought to the front burner efforts by the government to close gaps in air safety, which experts have over the years, attributed to obsolete infrastructure.
This is why the recent military aircraft crashed calls for thorough investigations by stakeholders.
The plane was scheduled to conduct a surveillance mission in connection with an operation to rescue students and staff abducted from a school in Kagara, Niger State.
The air force said an investigation into the accident was underway.
Findings from these investigations should be made public while appropriate mechanism should be put in place to avert future occurrence.
It is pertinent that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority mandate every service provider to operate their airline to be at par with international best practices.
While air traffic volume is expected to increase in future, it is urgent to establish a safer and more efficient air traffic system as well as improve infrastructure at airports across the country.
Although, accidents are unplanned for, what is important is that the devastating effect is minimal and future occurrence is prevented through plans and preparation.
Government needs to improve safety measures in various fields by improving air transport environment, ensuring safety of aviation systems, ensuring the safety of aircraft, and improving rescue and emergency service systems.
In addition, government should comprehensively and systematically promote other measures desirable to ensure safer air space in the country.