The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) have signed a landmark deal that has signaled a gradual movement towards unified civil aviation regulation in Africa.
The deal will see Nigeria and South African aviation regulators share safety and security best practices with each other and also streamline regulations to foster smooth flight operations between both countries.
The deal was a highlight of the African Aviation Summit & Exhibiting held in Abuja 13th and 14th of September 2023 in Abuja.
The Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation, Captain Musa Nuhu signed on behalf of Nigeria, and Poppy Khoza, Director of Civil Aviation, South African Civil Aviation Authority, signed on behalf of South Africa. The ministers of both countries witnessed the signing ceremony.
This cooperation is fulfilling for Captain Musa Nuhu because he is a firm promoter single aviation regulatory regime in Africa as is experienced in Europe with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Captain Nuhu believes a single regulatory regime in Africa will unlock opportunities in aviation and enhance the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) project was launched in January 2018 to give fresh impetus to the goal of liberalizing air transport across Africa and to fully implement the Yamoussoukro Decision. SAATM is projected to create 508,750 direct jobs and a $4.2 billion impact on African GDP in the long term.
Commenting on the deal, Captain Musa Nuhu said the deal is unique as the regulatory harmonization between Nigeria and South Africa will enhance the flight operations between the two countries to almost be like domestic flights.
“We will remove all the barriers and obstacles of operations between both countries. Going forward, we hope other countries will join us to see to the successful implementation of SAATM. This is a first step of a long journey” he said.
Also commenting, Poppy Khoza, Director of Civil Aviation, South African Civil Aviation Authority, said this is a step in the right direction for the two technical agencies.
“This is a technical cooperation agreement which is very technical in nature. We will be exchanging on aviation safety and security in particular. The Minister of Nigeria has indicated that one of his KPIs is to ensure that he upholds the highest-level standards of aviation security. It is the same KPI for my minister. Therefore, there are synergies between both ministers” she noted.
“So, we will be cooperating a lot. In fact, we are already cooperating, but it is a good time to formalize the agreement so that we are directed in terms of the parameters that we have set for ourselves and be to be able to measure whatever we have started today. This agreement we believe will be of great assistance not only for the two countries but for the African continent. In terms of elevating our safety and security posture,” she stated.
The South African CAA CEO further noted that “there will be no thriving and sustainability of aviation in Africa if safety and security aren’t prioritized. We believe that this will make an impact and we elevate our safety and security posture.”
Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development Barr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, expressed excitement over the deal.
“This is an exciting day for us. You can tick this as one of my deliverables under my first KPIs. We need to learn from one of the countries in Africa ahead of us in safety and security standards. South Africa is doing 92 percent in terms of ICAO standards and Nigeria is doing 70 percent. By cooperating with SA, we are sure to close that gap and even exceed it. We will close the gap as soon as possible” he enthused.
He said under the KPI of the development of infrastructure, Nigeria also saw the deliverable of the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) from Embraer coming to Nigeria.
“This relationship will be symbiotic. If there are areas we need guidance, we will come to South Africa and if there are areas SA needs assistance, we will be glad to support as well” he further explained.