The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Capt. Fola Akinkuotu has charged Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) in the African and Indian Ocean Region (AFI Region) to freely embrace and implement the International Civil Aviation (ICAO) Council Resolution on the formation of peer groups by ANSPs for the periodic review of their Safety Management Systems (SMS) implementation levels.

Giving this charge at the opening of a two-day peer review meeting of AFI ANSP Peer Review Team 3 which held at the agency’s headquarters in Lagos, Capt. Akinkuotu said only an effective peer review of safety systems and procedures among ANSPs in the region could enable Africa to build upon its rising safety profile and the make the continent more competitive in the global aviation industry.

According to information from the Public Affairs Department of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Capt. Akinkuotu who was represented by the Director of Safety Electronics and Engineering Services, Engr. Farouk Umar said the time had come for African ANSPs to harmonize and synergize their safety systems and procedures by bringing members up to speed with industry best practices  with the ultimate goal of achieving a single African sky.

 The NAMA boss assured members of the peer review team that “NAMA as a state ANSP shares the same concerns with ICAO and its allies including the Civil Air Navigation Service Organization (CANSO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) and is also committed to ensuring the envisaged benefits of the peer review programme are fully actualized.”

 He called on members to “feel free to criticize the agency’s SMS implementation strengths and weaknesses as this exercise would serve as a learning curve in our quest to step up our SMS effective implementation level.”

 Earlier in her remarks, the Director of African Affairs, Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), Ms Boni Dibante noted that the objective of the peer review mechanism among ANSPs was to address some of the challenges ANSPs in the AFI region are facing stressing that “effective implementation would enable us to standardize our Safety Management Systems and all the other areas of operations which have been identified by ICAO and the result of this, we are hoping, will bring us to maturity level.”

Dibante also enjoined members to adhere strictly to the CANSO SMS Implementation Guide and the Safety Maturity Survey as these self-assessing documents would not only assist members in attaining a high level of safety management systems but also ensure that ANSPs meet their requirements and satisfy their regulators whenever they come for audit.

 It will be recalled that the ICAO Council, on the 4th of April, 2015 in Montreal passed a resolution that ANSPs should form peer groups and review their SMS implementation processes and procedures with a view to finding out areas of gaps and making the necessary corrective action.

There are five groups in the AFI Region of which NAMA comes under team 3. Other members of this team are Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Roberts Flight Information Region (Roberts FIR), Liberian Civil Aviation Authority, Guinea Civil Aviation Authority and Sierra Leonean Civil Aviation Authority.