The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Wednesday, formally presented United Nigeria Airlines with its Operational Safety Audit Certificate otherwise known as IOSA, thus making the airline the sixth in Nigeria to obtain the safety standard.
The joining of IOSA by the airline has made Nigeria the first in Africa to have six airlines registered on the registry of IOSA.
The certificate which was presented by the IATA’s Area Manager in West and Central Africa, Dr. Samson Fatokun was received by the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the airline, Mazi Osita Okonkwo at the airline’s office in Ikeja, Lagos.
Established by IATA in 2003, IOSA uses internationally recognised quality auditing principles to assess the operational management and safety controls of airlines to certify them consistently. As a result, IOSA has become accepted as the international standard for airline safety and operational evaluation.
In his presentation, Fatokun said that United Nigeria Airlines achieved the IOSA within two years which he described as a great achievement worthy of congratulations.
Fatokun while pointing out that, it was the first time United Nigeria would be coming on the IOSA registry remarked: “we know what it takes to achieve it. United Nigeria achieved it in two years. It is a great accomplishment and we will like to congratulate the airline. You should be proud of yourselves ”
Advising that sustenance of the certificate was equally important, Fatokun said: “IOSA is an end and also a means you can use to go higher. I congratulate you and say you have done well. We have very few airlines in West African region that have it. You are one of the few. It is very good and we hope you sustain it. We also have 6 airlines in Nigeria that are on IOSA register. There is no country that has as much as that”.
He used the occasion to call on others that are yet to join the IOSA train to do so, saying: “We will encourage those airlines which are not in the registry to join. Our solemn encouragement is for them to join. The membership objective is safety. Any airline that aspires for safety, we will help them. We urge those airlines that are not in the register to approach us and see how they can be members”.
The IATA’s representative, however, made it clear that to become an IATA member, the airline must first be on the IOSA registry.
Responding on behalf of United Nigeria Airlines, Mazi Okonkwo thanked both the airlines’ management team and IATA for making the achievement possible.
His words: “This is a journey we started 6 months ago. We thank our team that worked so many hours. We also thank IATA and the audit team that guided us throughout the process.
“It couldn’t have been easy without our airline’s team, the regulator, ground handlers, and other stakeholders. It involves visiting our ATO that trains our pilots to ensure that our books are in order. In terms of United Nigeria Airlines, this is one step along our set objectives. It is a requirement and it is good to have such a stage in our development”.
Assuring that the airline will tap from all the advantages of IOSA membership, Okonkwo said: “We will explore all the advantages abound in the IOSA registry. The business of flying is the business of safety. It is a collaborative work with the NCAA and IATA.
“It is also about benchmarking on safety standards according to the global best practices. We now have a certified benchmark to work with. Codeshare will be part of it and we will announce the airlines we will be codesharing with”.
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