The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) have signed a deal to achieve unified civil aviation regulation in Africa.
The two civil aviation authorities signed the agreement during the African Aviation Summit in Abuja on Thursday.
The deal will make Nigeria and South African aviation regulators share safety and security best practices. It will also streamline regulations to foster smooth flight arrangements between both countries.
The NCAA director-general, Musa Nuhu, signed on behalf of Nigeria, while Poppy Khoza, SACAA director, signed on behalf of South Africa.
Mr Nuhu said the deal would enhance the flight operations between the two countries to almost be like domestic flights. He explained that the single regulatory regime in Africa would unlock opportunities in aviation to enhance the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market project.
Mr Nuhu said SAATM was launched in January 2018 to give fresh impetus to liberalising air transport across Africa to implement the Yamoussoukro Decision fully.
SAATM is projected to create 508,750 direct jobs and a $4.2 billion impact on African GDP in the long term.
“We will remove all the barriers and obstacles of operations between both countries. Going forward, we hope other countries will join us to see the successful implementation of SAATM. This is a first step of a long journey,” said the NCAA boss.
Ms Khoza said the step was in the right direction to strengthen the relationship between the two technical agencies. According to her, the agreement will assist the two countries and the African continent in elevating safety and security posture.
She said aviation would not thrive and sustainability in Africa if safety and security were not prioritised.
“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 plans is to ensure that he upholds the highest-level standards of aviation security,” stated the SACAA director.
Ms Khoza added, “It is the same plan for my minister. Therefore, there are synergies between both ministers. So, we will be cooperating a lot. In fact, we are already cooperating.”
Aviation minister Festus Keyamo said he was pleased with the deal. He expressed optimism that the two countries involved would benefit immensely from it.
“This is an exciting day for us. You can tick this as one of my deliverables under my first plans. We need to learn from one of the countries in Africa ahead of us in safety and security standards,” said Mr Keyamo. “South Africa is doing 92 per cent in terms of ICAO standards, and Nigeria is doing 70 per cent. By cooperating with SA, we are sure to close that gap and even exceed it. We will close the gap as soon as possible.”