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All Wet Lease Aircraft in Nigeria Must Have An Indigenous Pilot, Says Aviation Minister Keyamo

He instructed the NCAA to withdraw the licenses and blacklist regulators who fail in their aircraft assessment duty.

Nigeria’s Aviation and Aerospace Minister, Festus Keyamo, has said that for all wet lease aircraft, a Nigerian pilot must be seated in the cockpit.

In a meeting on Monday, with heads of regulatory agencies over safety concerns in the aviation industry, Keyamo said this will help to forestall such incidents like the United Nigeria plane that landed in Asaba instead of Abuja. 

He said the incident has opened the eyes of regulators to new steps they must take.

The minister said “I have spoken with them and we have all agreed that wet leases coming into Nigeria, you must have a Nigerian pilot seated at least on the jump seat and must be seated there with the foreign pilot.

“A Nigerian pilot must be there with them in the wet leases even if it is for a few hours.

“I have also directed the NCAA that within the next 72 hours, they should summon all pilots and crew who are operating wet leases in Nigeria for further briefing because the lives of Nigerians were at stake.

“They are flying Nigerians and our sacred duty is to protect Nigerians.

“On that plane were innocent souls that they took to another destination that they did not have plans to go to. There was no weather problem.”

Keyamo said if regulators within the airlines’ fold fail in their aircraft assessment duty, NCAA should withdraw their licences and blacklist them.

The minister said the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) is investigating the incident, adding that he has given the bureau 10 days to submit their reports.

Chioma Kalu