Capt. Muhtar Usman, the Director-General, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has expressed optimism that the country would retain its Category One safety status it attained in 2015.

Usman expressed his optimism while briefing newsmen in Lagos on Monday.

He explained that the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had commenced a five day re-assessment of the Nigerian aviation industry to know its level of compliance with international best practises.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria had attained the Category One status since 2010 and also retained it in 2015 after a comprehensive audit of the industry.

Usman noted that the FAA four-man team was led by Mr Louis Avrez, International Technical Support, William Amoz, Aviation Safety Inspector, Benjamin Garrido, Frontline Manager, Airworthiness and L.P. Vanstory Ill, International Affairs.

He explained that the team would focus its audit on Personnel Licensing, International Operations and Airworthiness, assuring that the agency was fully prepared for the audit.

According to him, the team would be in the country for the next five days and after the exercise they will make their observations known through a report to the authority.

“NCAA has done a lot in the areas that we are expected to cover and not only for this audit, in our statutory responsibilities; safety, aviation security and also regulations.

“We have the new civil aviation bill, which is on its way to the National Assembly.

“The bill is to enhance the current Act of 2006 and it’s supposed to be in line with the new annexes of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Convention.

“We have also amended our regulation, which is 2015 Civil Aviation Regulation,” he said.

Usman said the authority had embarked on reorganisation of its operation to ensure it continues to discharge its responsibilities as it should be, which would be in line with ICAO.

He said NCAA would continue to attract and retain qualified personnel in the industry in sufficient numbers to make sure the authority carries out the safety as required by ICAO.

The director-general noted that in the area of enforcement and compliance, the authority had done a lot, adding that it would ensure its safety regulations are enforced.

“Our sanctions are not supposed to be punitive, but corrective. We have been sanctioning where we need to sanction in order to correct and ensure safety in the system and even security.

“We thank God in the last two years we never had any major accident. There is zero tolerance in accident at NCAA,” he said.

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