Harold Demuren

Harold Demuren

Dr. Harold Demuren

Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority
Assumed office
29 December 2005
Preceded by Engr. Fidelis Onyeyiri

Born 31 May 1945
Ogun State, Nigeria(age 66)
Nationality Nigerian
Spouse(s) Osaretin Afusat Demuren
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Profession Aeronautical Engineer
Religion Christian

Dr. Harold Olusegun Demuren (born May 31, 1945 in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria) is an Aeronautical Engineer. He was appointed Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in December 2005.


He attended Ijebu Ode Grammar School from January 1958 to December 1964 where he obtained Cambridge Higher School Certificate (HSC) and General Certificate of Education (GCE Advanced Level) in 1964. In 1965, he won a Soviet Union Government scholarship to study Aeronautical Engineering in the Former USSR. He obtained Diploma in Russian Language at the Moscow State University, Moscow, USSR (1965 – 1966). He proceeded to Kiev Institute of Aviation Engineers, Kiev in former Soviet Union where he obtained Masters of Science in Aeronautical Engineering (M.Sc.) in 1972 and then to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. for his Doctor of Science D.Sc. in Aircraft Gas Turbine & Jet Propulsion Engines (1975).

His research work was on the Aerodynamic Design, Manufacturing and Testing of High Temperature, High Pressure Ratio Transonic Turbine Blades for advanced gas turbines and jet aircraft engines for the United States Air Force and Navy at the M.I.T. Gas Turbine and Jet Aircraft Propulsion Laboratory (1972-1974) and also a Joint experimental investigation with the Turbo-machinery Group of Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics at Rhode-Saint-Genèse, Belgium, a NATO Research Institute (1974 – 1975).

Professional Career

He was recruited from the United States of America to join the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Nigeria in 1976 as Senior Airworthiness Surveyor and rose to become Assistant Director, Airworthiness in June 1989. On the creation of the defunct Federal Civil Aviation Authority in 1990, he was appointed Deputy Director Air Transport, Economic Regulations and Licensing. He rose to become the Director Safety Services in 1991. In August 1995, He was “forced” into retirement because of his strict adherent to Safety after a Government “restructuring” exercise.

After retirement, he worked as Aviation Consultant and later formed Afrijet Airlines in 1998. Afrijet Airlines became one of the biggest Cargo Airlines in the country by 2005 servicing various cargo destinations on the Continent. The airline also had strategic alliances with foreign partners including MK Airlines U.K. and Panalpina World Transport (Nigeria) Limited which expanded cargo aircraft operations and freight services from Europe (Luxembourg, London, Ostend, Munich, etc) to Nigeria (Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt) and to other major African cities including Nairobi, Kinshasa, Accra, Johannesburg, Malabo, etc. In addition to operating cargo services from Nigeria, the airline also operated passenger flights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

He was the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Afrijet Airlines until he was appointed Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in late December 2005. His appointment was later confirmed by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in February 2007 in accordance with the Civil Aviation Act of 2006 that stipulates the tenure of 5 years for the Director General of NCAA.

He is also the President, Flight Safety Foundation-West Africa, currently serves in the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of Flight Safety Foundation, the first and only African member in the Board of Governors of the Flight Safety Foundation, the foremost international aviation organization with headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.A.

Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority

In late 2005, there was a loss of confidence in Air Travel and Apathy in the Aviation industry as two fatal Air disasters in a span of 7 weeks left the nation mourning. The 2 incidents were Bellview Airlines flight 210 that killed all 117 people onboard on October 22, and Sosoliso Airlines flight 1145 that killed 105 of 108 passengers including 61 students from Loyola Jesuit College on December 10, 2005.

Following these tragic events, the Federal Government sought Dr. Demuren to head the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority as its Director General in late December 2005 to revamp, reposition and restore confidence in domestic air travel. After his appointment, Demuren immediately took on the challenge of reforming the Nigerian Aviation sector and restoring the lost confidence to the Industry drawing up a strategic short, medium and long term plan anchored on Safety, Security and Satisfaction (consumer) in that order of priority. Dr. Demuren introduced a safety reform Agenda which enthroned professionalism, integrity and transparency in the conduct of Aviation business.

Christmas Day Bomber

In December 2009, Demuren was first to provide vital information to the public on facts leading to Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab’s failed attempt as the “Christmas Day Bomber”. These included how Farouk bought his ticket in Accra, Ghana on KLM Airlines, proceeded on December 24th through the normal screening and check-in process, and had his US Visa scanned through the Advance Passenger Information System which returned a "no-objection". Demuren also defended the Nigerian Airport security system by promptly providing information and footage, demonstrating the advance security and technological solutions deployed in Nigeria. The global community was astonished at the degree of detail and depth of the information provided by a so-called 3rd world country in contrast to its reputation for chaos and mediocrity. Interestingly, Schipol, Amsterdam Airport, Farouk’s transit port, was unable to detect any irregularity during the security screening process. Following this incident and in order to enhance safety and security, Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos became one of the first worldwide to deploy Full Body scanners and Explosive Detection Systems.

US FAA Category One Certification

On August 23, 2010, under the leadership of Dr. Demuren and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nigeria attained American Federal Aviation Administration International Aviation Safety Assessment (FAA IASA) Category One Certification. This allows direct flights from Nigeria to Continental United States (USA). Prior to his appointment in 2005, there were no direct flights between Nigeria and USA. There are now several direct flights between Nigeria and U.S. destinations including Atlanta, New York and Washington D.C., with services to Houston to begin in November 2011.

President of ICAO General Assembly

On September 28, 2010, Demuren was elected as the President of the 37th General Assembly of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) held in Montreal, Canada from 28th September to 8th October, 2010. The appointment was unanimously endorsed by all the delegates of the 190 contracting states of the ICAO. His emergence made history as the first time an African was elected to preside over the ICAO General Assembly, the United Nations global aviation agency. The assembly passed landmark policies on global Aviation Safety, Aviation Security and the Environment for the Industry. It was at this notable assembly that the historic Climate Change agreement was reached.

Notable Achievements

• 2010 Flight Safety Foundation “Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Award” - Nov 2010

• 1st African to be elected President of ICAO General Assembly - Sept 2010

• Obtained U.S. FAA Category 1 Certification for Nigeria (6th African Country) - Aug 2010

• Led Nigeria to successfully complete the ICAO Universal Safety Audit - 2006, 2008 & 2010

• Led Nigeria to successful completion of the Aviation Security Audit of Murtala Mohammed International Airport and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport by the United States of American Transportation Security Administration (TSA) - 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

• Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society – 2008

• Fellow of Nigeria Academy of Engineering – 2008

• Fellow of the Chartered Engineers (UK)

• 2008 Thisday Awards “Regulator of the Year” - 2008

• Launched the IATA E-ticket / Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) regime which revolutionized the Air travel industry in Nigeria – 2008

• Strived for the rapid passage of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Autonomy Bill into Law - 2006

• Implementing the Cape Town Convention replacing Old-Age Aircrafts in Nigeria - 2006

• Re-established confidence in the Nigerian traveling public and international community after the tragic Air disasters of 2005

• Introduced a new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations that ensured Safety Oversight of all aviation activities in Nigeria in compliance ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).

• Laid the foundation of the National Civil Aviation Policy for Nigeria

• Longest serving Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) – Dec 2005 to Present

• 1st and only African Member in the Board of Governors of Flight Safety Foundation – 2003 to Present

• President, Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) West Africa – 2003 to Present

• Co-Founder of Afrijet Airlines (1998)


Harold Demuren has been married to his wife, Mrs. Osaretin Afusat Demuren, since 1973. They met for the first time as students in the former Soviet Union in 1969. They got engaged in Moscow, and later got married in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1973. Mrs. Demuren, also a professional record achiever herself, rose to become the 1st Female Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 1999 and retired from the Apex Bank after 33 years of service in 2009. Their marriage is blessed with children and several grand-children.


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