The aircraft e-clearance web portal recently deployed by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) in collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has continued to attract commendation and buy-in from stakeholders even as they say the internet solution will go a long way in reducing time constraints and also make for efficiency in processing entry and landing permits for non-scheduled foreign aircraft into the country.
The recent commendations were made during the demonstration of the e-clearance module to National Air Defence Corp and other security agencies by NAMA at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Conference Centre and Suites, Abuja.
Speaking at the event, Capt. Simon Peter, Military Airport Commandant, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Group said, “The aviation industry globally has gone digital and what NAMA has done by deploying the e-clearance portal is the way forward because apart from facilitating the process of getting the clearances, it also helps to improve the country’s rating on the ease of doing business.
“The internet solution will also improve security because all security agencies now have copies at the same time the checks are going on, so it make it easier, better and faster for us to work and I think it is a good way to go.
“You can be assured that the Nigerian Air Force is going to sustain collaboration with NAMA as they continue to enhance air traffic management capacity as well as airspace security.”
In his remarks, the Chief of Staff, British Military Advisory and Training Team in Nigeria, Sqn. Ldr. Ian Partridge, described the innovation as “a complete step change in the way many nations do their clearances for aircraft and the fact that you have done this in less than two years is quite outstanding.”
Sqn. Ldr. Partridge described the digital clearance system as very thorough and a fantastic initiative that they have come up with as there would be no need to deal with all the paper work or drive between offices anymore.
It would be operated online and also maintain the integrity of the clearance process. It is also said, would revolutionize the process, going forward.
Partridge who is a Royal Air Force officer said his office is interested in how diplomatic clearances are approved granted.
He also revealed that Britain was willing to continue to support Nigeria as the nation strives to enhance its airspace capacity with innovations such as this “e-clearance system.”
Also speaking, the Director of Air Traffic Service, Nigeria Air Force, Wing Comdr. Nuhu Hassan described e-clearance as “a commendable breakthrough.”
He however, called for a periodic review of the system by all stakeholders, to enable them observe areas of possible improvement.
Earlier in his address, the Managing Director of NAMA, Engr. Ibrahim Abdulsalam noted that the increasing demand for air services in the country necessitated the agency to embark on some strategic projects aimed at developing its air traffic management capacity, stressing that the deployment of the e-clearance system was in line with the agency’s strategic objective of automating its business processes.
The event which was well attended attracted the presence of the Director General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, along with representatives from the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Directorate of State Security (DSS), Nigerian Air Force (NAF), British High Commission as well as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
It will be recalled that the Minister of Transport, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi during a recent tour of facilities at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, had also commended the e-clearance initiative especially as it has drastically reduced the time spent in obtaining aircraft clearances in Nigeria.
In another development, Engr. Abdulsalam has charged the Aviation Statistical Committee of the Federal Ministry of Transport to justify its existence by ensuring that data produced on Nigerian air transportation is credible, reliable and harmonized in order to meet international best practices.
The NAMA boss, who made the remarks in a key-note address at the second meeting of the Aviation Statistical Committee for the year 2015 held in Otta, Ogun State, maintained that a dynamic Nigerian aviation industry also requires timely, reliable and accurate statistical data for effective planning that would enhance safety of the nation’s airspace.
Represented by Alh. Mai-sallau Musa, General Manager, Planning, Research and Statistics, Abdusalam also assured that all the agency’s Air Traffic Management systems are operating at optimal levels, stressing that “the safety of the nation’s airspace has resulted in more airlines and flights operating in and out of the country in the last five years.”
Also in his remarks, the chairman of the committee, Mr Mandu Adedoyin advised members to come up with a mechanism that would enhance statistical development to effectively meet the needs of local and international users.
By Patrick Aigbokhan