The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has blamed lack of funds for the delay in certification of the nation’s airports.
Managing Director of the authority, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with our Correspondent noted, however, that with budgetary provision made in this regard, the issue of paucity of funds had been laid to rest.
Dunoma said with multiple assessments done on the nation’s airports by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Airports Council International (ACI) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), FAAN now has higher safety standards than what it was before the airport certification process.
He said, “The challenges at the beginning were resources. At the beginning, we thought we might not need many resources, but at the end of the day, after the assessment, we discovered that we have a lot to do.
“The only thing we needed to do was to make provisions in our budget that these are special fund to address the certification. Once we got the assessment and the funds provided, our engineers swung into action. The engineers came with the estimate of how some of the technical issues, some of the documentations and some of the new things we needed to provide to make sure that we close the gaps.
“So, with the provision in our budget, there was no issue again. Budget was provided and everything is going smoothly and that is why we are at this stage”.
Dunoma who added that he was looking at the certification from the level of achievement in terms of safety, pointed out that FAAN has, by way of going through the process of airport certification, achieved a lot of safety standards
Emphasising that certification is all about safety, the FAAN boss said that the Authority had since combined the two assessments done by ICAO, ACI and the one done by NCAA in order to work with the results and forge ahead.
Without the assessments by such reputable organizations, Dunoma said, the authority wouldn’t have known that there are some open items at the airports.
He, however, informed that with certification, everything was looked into, including documentation, communication lines, emergency contact telephone numbers and other necessary facilities and equipment at the airports.
His words: “Under normal circumstances, we would not bother. But with the certification, we must make sure that whoever is there is current. Certification is making sure that everything is current and checked on regular basis. It is not only getting the certificate but sustenance of the certificate is important.
“Yes, we have worked hard that we close the items, but we must sustain it. Also, what is important is the currency in terms of training of personnel. We must make sure that all personnel are properly trained. If you acquire equipment for example, we must make sure that people that will operate the machine are trained on that particular machine”.
On the readiness of airports for certification, Dunoma said as far as FAAN is concerned, the Authority is ready for the process.
He added that although most of the open items have been closed, there is also the need for them to go back to NCAA so that they can come and confirm the closure.
Speaking further on the items that needed to be closed, Dunoma said, “There are so many items. If I remember rightly, there are over 100 items that we need to close. There are some of them that have to do with procedures. Those ones are easy to close. There are some that have to do with documentation”