By Nkem Osuagwu
In this interview, Engineer Sheri Kyria, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Centre for Aviation Safety and Research (CAS-R) speaks on issues concerning the safety of aircraft and passengers in the nation’s aviation industry and why the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority should embark on a safety audit of the airlines especially Dana Air to avert aircraft incidents and accidents; He spoke with our Aviation correspondent, Nkem Osuagwu.
A lot of aircraft incidents have happened in the industry within the last couple of weeks. Could it be that the regulator is not doing what it is supposed to do in terms of safety oversight or the airlines are not taking safety issues seriously as required?
It is not necessary as you are saying, it might be happen-chance that the activities seemed to be happening at the same time but the beauty of it is that it helps to awaken us to the need for more safety consciousness by both the airlines and the regulator.
Specifically, let us take the issue of Dana Air, the airline has been involved in two critical incidents within days, from the standpoint of an aircraft engineer what could these be attributed to, especially the issue of the emergency aircraft door falling off after landing in Abuja
Well on the issue of the emergency door of Dana aircraft falling off on the runway; First Dana alleged that a passenger tampered with the door, and the door unlatched but was still kept in place because of the prompt nature of the door and due to pressurization of the aircraft, but on landing at Abuja the aircraft depressurized and thrust revisal applied and there was vibration and the door fell off on the runway.
I don’t know if it was a passenger, Dana should be able to trace and identify the passenger, to find out why the passenger went to tamper with the door mechanism.
But I want to believe that maintenance could have been involved in this. In the sense that somebody worked on the door and positioned it without latching it and if there is not much vibration on the ground, the door may likely stay in that position and with the pressurization of the aircraft it will stay in place, but on landing in Abuja the aircraft was depressurized and there was vibration and the door fell off.
What should Dana Air be doing now?
It is not just about Dana at this time it is for all the airlines as well. In aviation when such things begin to happen it is a call for alertness among all the airlines and even the regulator. or a repeated occurrence like that It is important for the regulator to act by embarking on a safety audit of the airlines.
There is need for the regulator to act on the inspection of those doors before takeoff. But the emergency doors are not always handled by the cabin crew. There is need for an audit of the safety oversight of airlines especially that of Dana. The regulator should do and audit of Dana’s operation as well as that of other airlines.
It is amazing for cows to encourage on the runway because there is no perimeter fencing at that Akure Airport. What does it take become an aircraft engineer?
What it takes is getting a good education in an aviation school. The training of regular aircraft engineer is about three years and in Nigeria it is done by the aviation college in Zaria. Also the Air force institute trains aircraft engineers along with the OND and HND programmes in aircraft maintenance. But Zaria has such programs based on international Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) curriculum type two licenses of ICAO. So people can do that with an entry requirement of either University Degree, or Polytechnic OND or HND and in rare cases a secondary school certificate can qualify somebody after an aptitude test.
You are an ex Nigeria Airways staff what is happening to the settlement of gratuities to the ex workers?
All we now is that Mr. president has approved the payment but we have not seen anything yet coming from that direction. It is very sad that it has taken this long. All we know is that the government is aware otherwise the minister would have gotten a query and maybe a problem somewhere in terms of chase flow we believe when the government is able to get cash they will be able to address that.
We have not been invited for verification. We pray that the government will not be making the mistake of playing politics with the lives of human beings because whenever the government said they are going to pay, that brings hope but after a while you begin to hear of the deaths of people as a result of frustration. The President used that as one of his campaign promises, we are almost getting to the last year of his regime. It is really sad that up till now we have not been paid.
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