Civil aviation regulation in Nigeria is inching towards the global mark as the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) joins other countries to implement prescribed standards and practices for airlines and other players. But ächieving this requires fixing identified lapses. KELVIN OSA-OKUNBOR reports.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is set to tackle the shortage of technical personnel, especially safety and airworthiness inspectors.
This is to meet growing air transport demand in the country, its Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu, has said.
Besides, the authority is also scaling up efforts to ensure there are adequate training and re-training opportunities for its personnel.
Nuhu, in an interview in Lagos, said the authority was doing everything to carry out mandatory training for effective service delivery.
One of the ways of achieving this, Nuhu said, is by domesticating the training programme for safety inspectors to save money for the NCAA.
Speaking on the state of the industry since his assumption of office 18 months ago, Nuhu said the regulatory body had engaged the Ministry of Aviation on ways to improve the working conditions of its personnel.
With the partnership of the Ministry of Aviation, the NCAA is looking forward to the approval of new conditions of service by appropriate agencies to attract and retain core technical personnel.
On the strides attained in the sector, Nuhu said the safety compliance of most carriers had improved.
According to him, the regulator has within a short time resolved five cases on the Cape Town Convention as it affects Mobile Equipment leased by indigenous carriers. He said the development had boosted international confidence in the oversight function of NCAA.
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Nuhu said the regulatory authority carried out restructuring of its directorates with the Consumer Protection Directorate (CPD) merging with the Directorate of Air Transport Regulations (DATR) and Directorate of General Aviation (DGA). Directorate of Operations and Training (DOT) merged with Licensing.
However, three Directorates: Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS), Directorate of Human Resource and Administration (DHR&A) and Directorate of Finance were retained.
With these changes in just one year and a half of his administration, experts say there is no doubt that Nuhu is prepared to take the industry to the next level of safety which is the backbone of aviation worldwide.
Reviewing unfolding events, stakeholders have scored the NCAA management high in terms of regulation.
For instance, operators who were able to scale through their acquisition of the Air Operators Certificate (AOC), under Nuhu’s regime, have attested to the fact that NCAA is up and doing in pursuing its regulations for both airlines and other stakeholders in the industry.
United Nigeria Airlines is one carriers issued an operating licence by the NCAA. After rigorous examination by the NCAA, including test flights, the agency granted the airline an AOC, on February 1, 2021, which will be valid until January 31, 2023.
United Nigeria Airlines Chairman Okonkwo Obiora laudeed the NCAA.
“We are happy and grateful to God that we were able to scale through this their very very strict and stringent processes. Today we are flying,” he said.
On the dynamics of civil regulations under Nuhu, renowned aviation trainer and Chief Executive Officer of Westlink Airlines, Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia, said the NCAA had upped its game in one of the most regulated industries in the world.
The airline operator said the current regulations needed more operators’ voices because when the rules were made, some of them were made in a hurry to enable approvals of certain requirements.
Mshelia said: “Aviation needs to be regulated the way it is; whether there are lacunas here and there, obviously there are,” adding that there was no place across the world where Civil Aviation Authority is liked.