4th February, 2015
The Nigerian Aviation Portal launched two months ago by the Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, is a step in the right direction. The portal, known as Aviation Passenger Service (APS) portal is a one-stop platform where real time information about airlines and flight operations in Nigeria can be found. Real time information means that passengers now have access to information about flight operations as it occurs, all on just one website, www.aviationportal.com.ng.
Following this development, Nigerian air travellers no longer need to go to the airport, call individual airlines or log on to different websites to plan their trips. Many intending air travellers in Nigeria now visit the Aviation Passenger Service Portal as a first step in planning their journeys, especially in recent weeks with harmattan haze that led to many flight cancellations and delays.
The www.aviationportal.com.ng portal has become a reliable source for verified information and was purposely designed for passengers travelling by air from within and outside Nigeria. The accurate data also allows passengers to make informed decisions and plan their journey.
Apart from the aviation portal, Chidoka has also mandated all aviation agencies to set up Facebook pages and update their information regularly to provide accurate data to the public. Virtually all the agencies, from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, now have Facebook pages and updated websites.
We agree with the Minister of Aviation that accurate information is a key element of democracy. Chidoka has made it a duty to publish reports of investigation on his own Facebook page and has mandated agencies to make such reports available.
But it is our opinion that Chidoka should go beyond the social media and IT revolutions and fix other ailing areas in the aviation industry with the same ferocity. For instance, too many standing fans are still being used in our airports because of extreme heat and constant breakdown of the cooling system. There are also no equipment at our airports to handle emergency health challenges. Chidoka should ensure that medical equipment are provided to handle cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR, at our airports.
CPR is an emergency procedure performed in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest. The facility is needed to revive those who are unresponsive with no breathing or abnormal breathing, for example, agonal respirations.
Besides, many people believe that Chidoka has been too quiet since he assumed office last year. Beyond cosmetic measures, he should be able to tell Nigerians in clear language what he has done since replacing controversial ex-Minister, Stella Oduah. Many also believe that air fares have continued to skyrocket while Chidoka has not been able to explain why. Nigerians want a Minister of Aviation who can go beyond preventing plane crashes and transform the aviation industry as a whole.