AIB trains airline operators, regulators on accident investigation

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Scene of a plane crash being investigated by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB)
Scene of a plane crash being investigated by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB)

By Sumaila Ogbaje

Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), has trained a number of accident investigators from some domestic airlines, College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on accident investigation management.

The two weeks training, which began on April 8 and conducted by the Southern California Safety Institute Inc, had participants from Dana Airlines, Arik Air, Bristow Helicopters, NCAT and NCAA as well as AIB.

Mr Akin Olateru, the Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), at the closing ceremony training on Friday in Abuja, said the purpose of the training was to help stakeholders to understand what accident investigation was all about.

Olateru added that it was also aimed at getting airlines to understand their rights when ask to participate in accident investigation whenever accident occurred.

He said that the bureau was determined to create a synergy and unity of purpose among the airlines, service providers and the regulatory body to ensure safety in the nation’s aviation industry.

According to him, it is very important for us all to be on the same page because it is one aviation, it is either you are on the regulatory side or you are a service provider and one main focus is to have a safer sky.

“To the airlines, you need to understand what an accident is all about, you need to understand what we are doing in AIB, you need to understand the procedures, you need to understand your rights in case there is an occurrence.

“We don’t pray for it but you never know.

“So this is to prepare an airline and that is why every airline in the world today has a unit that takes care of accident investigation.

“They need to understand what accident investigation is all about, they need to understand, they need to understand their rights in accordance with Annex 13 because many of them don’t know they have a right to request to participate in this investigation with us.

“They need to understand what is expected of an airline or the service provider in the case of accident,” he said.

Olateru disclosed that the cardinal objective of AIB at the moment was to ensure adequate training for its investigators as well as improve the quality of equipment, infrastructure and human capacity.

He said that AIB had recently trained its investigators on dangerous crew training to understand how to manage a crashed cargo plane that had dangerous goods on board.

According to him, 10 of the investigators will proceed to Crawford University in May for further intensive six weeks training to balance their experiences with regard to both American and European accident investigation procedures.

“Our plan and dream is to takeover Africa because we want to make Nigeria the reference point in Africa in the area of accident investigation.

“We are collaborating with Sao Tome, we are collaborating with the Republic of Benin and there are two or three others that would want to sign with us.

“One of the countries have even sent in a request to come and train two of their investigators here in Nigeria,” he said.

AIB boss, however, urged airlines to make safety their top priority by keeping to the approved manual by NCAA, saying the cost of accident is just too expensive.

Mr Caj Frostell, Trainer and former Commissioner for West Africa, BAGAIA Group Accident Investigation Agency, commended AIB for doing a great job for training its investigator and effort to bring the entire industry together to ensure safety in the industry.

Frostell said that the fact that AIB is a separate agency from others in aviation sector should not be seen as an isolation, urging the commissioner to strive to bring the industry together.

He explained that the trainees were trained on basic accident investigation and investigation management during the two weeks programmes.

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