AIRLINE operators have asked the Nigerian government to consider engaging the services of international safety inspectors such as the UK Civil Aviation Authority in a bid to avoid future air accidents.
Domestic airline operators have attributed recent failures which had led to a series of accidents like the Dana air crash to the failings of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA.) They claim that it is ill-equipped to deal with the challenges its faces and have asked the Nigerian government to engage the services of foreign and international bodies to take over air safety across the country.
Organisations industry operators have asked the Nigerian government to contact include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the US, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) or Transport Canada. They have asked that such bodies be brought in to assist the country in providing the desired manpower during the interlude as NCAA intensified efforts to train more Nigerians.
Aircraft inspectors determine the air worthiness of aircraft and approve their operations and are as such a vital part of civil aviation regulation. However, unfortunately there are few Nigerians qualified in this area as those that are have been poached by international airlines and organisations.
A source at one of the major domestic carriers said that many Nigerians in the NCAA are either old and would retire soon or are not abreast of the latest development in aircraft technology. He added that in addition, they would soon give way and when they do there would be a vacuum.
To avoid the vacuum, the sources suggested that Nigeria should recruit expatriates in the interim who would be doing the job until those indigenes being trained by NCAA are qualified to take over. “We should recruit expatriates on air worthiness and inspection.
“The number of aircraft and type available, the number of flights and number of professionals that need to be checked and recertified are on the increase. There is also new innovation and technology being used in aviation, which the current manpower in NCAA cannot manage, so the body cannot effectively regulate the industry with the current manpower,” he added.
One NCAA source also observed that there was paucity of technical hands in aviation in the world, so the situation is not peculiar to Nigeria. “It is not only in Nigeria that these people are lacking. Everywhere they lack inspectors, especially pilots and that is why the aviation minister is trying to affiliate the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology Zaria to big aviation institutions overseas so that the school would produce more pilots, engineers and air traffic controllers with high end certificates and higher qualifications,” he added.