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Keyamo demands transparency: Directs swift release of investigative reports on flight NUA0504 within 10 days



In a decisive move towards ensuring transparency and safeguarding air travel in Nigeria, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, has issued a directive to the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB). The directive stipulates that the NSIB releases its investigative reports on Flight NUA0504 within a stringent timeframe of 10 days. The announcement was made during a crucial meeting held on Monday in Abuja, where the minister engaged with the leadership of the ministry and Heads of Agencies under its purview.


The directive follows the recent incident involving United Nigeria Flight NUA0504, which, en route from MM2 in Lagos to Abuja, was temporarily diverted to the Asaba International Airport in Delta. Mr. Keyamo emphasized the ministry’s commitment to taking comprehensive steps to ensure the safety of air travelers within the country, highlighting both minor and serious incidents that have occurred in recent weeks.


“For the incidents that happened recently in the country, some are classified as minor, and some serious incidents. But, we did not have any fatality. However, we have some preliminary steps and precautions steps that we are taking as a ministry and the regulators,” Keyamo stated during the meeting.


The minister stressed the urgency of obtaining investigative reports promptly, especially in light of the recent incident involving Flight NUA0504. He highlighted that the NSIB must produce comprehensive reports within the stipulated 10-day period, shedding light on the circumstances surrounding the diversion of the flight to Asaba.


Keyamo elaborated on the preliminary findings, referencing the transcript from the tower of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). According to the transcript, it was revealed that the pilot, operating a wet lease plane, mistakenly took off from Lagos headed to Asaba instead of the intended destination, Abuja.


“There was no weather problem yesterday; NiMet’s DG is here. It was a question of a wet lease plane. Pilots and the Cabin crew were foreigners. They were not familiar with the Nigerian terrain. So, it was purely an issue of in-house administrative issues,” Keyamo explained.


Addressing the systemic challenges, the minister outlined a new policy moving forward. “We have agreed, from now, any wet lease coming into Nigeria must have a Nigerian pilot and Nigerians as its Cabin crew,” he declared, emphasizing the need for familiarity with the Nigerian operating environment.


To reinforce these measures, Keyamo directed the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to conduct a crucial briefing within 72 hours for all Pilots and Cabin crew involved in wet lease operations in Nigeria. This briefing aims to ensure clear communication of the new policy and the imperative for compliance.


In addition to addressing the specific incident, Keyamo has taken broader steps to enhance passenger rights. He instructed the NCAA boss to explore avenues for enforcing regulations that guarantee passengers certain benefits in cases of flight delays or cancellations.


The comprehensive approach outlined by Minister Festus Keyamo reflects a commitment to not only addressing specific incidents promptly but also implementing systemic changes to enhance the safety and overall experience of air travel in Nigeria. The directive for swift investigative reports, the policy on wet leases, and the focus on passenger benefits collectively underscore a determined effort to fortify the aviation sector and instill confidence in travelers.

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