ART makes case for establishment of airline clearing house

A pressure group in the aviation industry, Aviation Round Table (ART) has called for the immediate inauguration of the board of directors for aviation agencies.

The President of ART, Mr Gbenga Olowo while making the call in a position paper made available to the media, insisted that in view of the critical nature of the sector coupled with its safety issues that there was the need for the emplacement of boards of directors for prompt decision taking.

The ART while addressing different issues affecting the sector, acknowledged that

Interim boards could fill administrative vacuum adding that the agencies were not meant to operate without functional boards for periods exceeding three months.

While stressing that ART was of the view that aviation sector policy makers adopt the international aviation best corporate governance for the promotion of safety, Olowo

lamented how situations where the aviation agencies operate without formally inaugurated boards could cast a thick shadow on transparency, accountability and responsibility.

ART expressed displeasure the discomfort experienced by airline consumers as a result of flight delays and cancellations, urging the committees on Aviation to ensure the establishment of an airline clearing house as an instrument to facilitating the transfer of value on domestic flights.

His words: “It is our view at ART that the establishment of an airline clearing house would help reduce the discomforts suffered by passengers when flights are delayed or cancelled as the clearing house will enable one airline’s ticket to be exchanged for the ticket of another airline such that when excessive delays occur, or flights are cancelled such passengers can have their tickets endorsed to another airline on the next available flight utilizing such instrument.

“To ensure compliance, we advise that any domestic operator that fails to register with the proposed payment airline clearing house could be denied an issuance or renewal of its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). To this end we further plead that the NCAA be empowered to be the lead authority responsible for the protection of consumers’ interest in the Aviation and allied services industry notwithstanding the provisions of any other.”

Olowo on behalf of the group declared support for the Accident Investigation Bureau’s  (AIB) Bill that is before the National Assembly, hinting that the ART was of the view that safety investigation and administration in the transportation should be all embracing.

According to Olowo, modern cities around the world had long adopted multi-modal transportation system to ease the movement of people, goods and services.

“It is our view that the establishment being proposed should embrace these modern trends. We therefore recommend the change of title of the proposed agency to be Nigeria Transportation Safety Administration Bureau with its Chief Executive designated as Executive Chairman to be assisted by four Executive Vice Chairman representing Land, Water, Rail and Aviation Safety Investigation.

“Also, we urge that you reconsider the wordings of the Bill regarding the objective of the agency. We propose for your consideration, the following as the objective; the objective of this Act is to provide an effective, legal and institutional framework for accident investigation of transportation occurrences in Nigeria and anywhere Nigerian interest is involved or when the transportation vehicle is a Nigerian carrier and makes recommendations to prevent future occurrences”.

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