Stakeholders blame human errors for air crashes in Nigeria



Chinazor Megbolu    |    

Stakeholders in the aviation industry have blamed human errors as the major causes of air accidents in Nigeria.

Speaking during a programme tagged; ‘Preventing Human Factors in Air Accident Investigations’ at the weekend in Lagos, the stakeholders in their remarks noted that poor communication between cockpit and the control tower, loss of situational awareness amongst others, was always the major cause of air accidents in the most populous nation in Africa.

They also claimed that flight crew judgment, lack of training, poor facilities, fatigue and maintenance officials have been identified as some of the human errors that need to be tackled towards reducing air accidents.

In his remarks, the President, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Mr. Abayomi Agoro, noted that poor communication and capacity training on new facilities are needed if the air accidents must be  nippled  in the bud.

He maintained that some airlines have vehemently refused to comply with some of the new technologies introduced as well as that some of the staff were yet to undergo training.

“The issue of communication has been something we have been calling on government and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to address.

“The poor communication is not only from the ground equipment but can also be from the air stations but most of the time, these are some things that can degenerate to incidents or accidents.

“Even now that we have data exchange which has to do with the CPDLC, not all the airlines are compliant with that and not all the controllers have gone through the training. So it’s one of the areas we have to look critically into to prevent human factors we are talking about.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner AIB, Mr. Akin Olateru, during the event, posited that air accidents are caused by human errors.

“Despite of a positive development in the trend of accidents recorded since the beginning of the 21st century, the number of air accidents is still unsatisfactory.


“Consequently, it is of paramount importance to do everything that would contribute to substantial reduction of the human factor failure in air transportation.

“A system of models appears to be important tool for overall understanding of the complexity of human factors, serving as starting-points to an analytical and classification research of the human factor.


“At the same time, these models enable qualified investigation and assessment of the causes of air accidents and incidents, thereby preventing them from repeated occurrence,” Olateru said.

Moreover, Mr. Akin George of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), in his address, explained that communication system in the country is very poor, adding that it’s been a recurring issue in the last 10-15 years.

“Solutions have been put in, we take one step forward and within a month or two we are back to the norm.

“We have been talking on human factors today and we know one of the critical elements is communication. If you cannot communicate with your controller; then who is controlling who? As of today,  the communication between aircraft and the services coming out of Kano to Lagos is extremely weak.

“If you happen to be operating from the Eastern side of the country, coming out of Calabar, Uyo, Port Harcourt and you are heading towards Kano, it’s extremely weak. In most cases, you have to get another aircraft to relay your information.

“Now whilst all this is going on, the aircraft does not stay in one place and so you have a dynamic situation which for me, remains high risk and that is one of the areas we need to tackle as soon as possible in order to reduce the risk,” George said.

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