The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, and the South African Civil Aviation Authority, SACAA, have signed a landmark 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 sharing safety and security best practices with each other.
It will also streamline regulations to foster smooth flight arrangements between both countries.
The NCAA Director -General, Capt. Musa Nuhu signed on behalf of Nigeria while Poppy Khoza, Director of SACAA signed on behalf of South Africa.
NAN further reports that the ministers of both countries witnessed the signing ceremony.
Mr Nuhu said the deal will enhance the flight operations between the two countries to almost be like domestic flights.
He further said that the single regulatory regime in Africa at large would unlock opportunities in aviation to enhance the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market, SAATM, project.
He said SAATM was launched in January 2018 to give fresh impetus to the goal of liberalizing air transport across Africa to fully implement the Yamoussoukro Decision.
SAATM, Mr Musa said, is projected to create 508,750 direct jobs and a 4.2 billion dollars 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” he said.
Also speaking, Ms Khoza, said the step was a step in the right direction to strengthen the relationship between the two technical agencies.
According to her, the agreement will be of great assistance for the two countries and the African continent in terms of elevating safety and security posture
She said there would be no thriving and sustainability of aviation in Africa if safety and security were not prioritized.
“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 planns is to ensure that he upholds the highest-level standards of aviation security.
“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,” she said.
Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, said he was highly pleased with the deal.
He expressed optimism that the two countries involved would benefit immensely in 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.
“South Africa is doing 92 percent in terms of ICAO standards and Nigeria is doing 70 percent. By cooperating with SA, we are sure to close that gap and even exceed it.
“We will close the gap as soon as possible” he enthused.
According to him, the relationship will be symbiotic in terms of guidance and assistance.