Shortage Of Flights, Aircraft Inspectors Raise Safety Concerns In Aviation

BY YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos

The shortage of aircraft, flights as well as pilot inspectors have raised safety concerns in the nation’s aviation sector, LEADERSHIP has learnt.

Sources in the aviation sector said the nation’s Nigeria aviation sector is currently facing shortage of Inspectors that cannot be resolved anytime soon.

According to the sources, the shortage has serious deficit on safety which must be taken seriously before it degenerated into a chaos.

Flight operator inspectors are responsible for the safety oversight of registered air operators, licensed flight crew and flight operations of general and business aviation.

They are also involved in the development of regulations and standards as well as conducting research on key developments in flight operations to ensure that regulations are kept up to date and relevant for safety oversight functions.

However, speaking to LEADERSHIP, the secretary-general, Aviation Round Table (ART), Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd), said the shortage of inspectors have shown that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), doesn’t pay attention to training.

According to him, the inspectors are very relevant to the industry hence, the authority must train inspectors to be two to three levels ahead of operators they are to inspect.

He said, “NCAA has shortage of Inspectors not flight Inspectors alone, this should tell us how we have been paying attention to training and the question is how much training we are giving the technical people in the sector. We have said NCAA should train inspectors to be two or three levels ahead of those they want to inspect.”

Also speaking, veteran pilot and chairman, board of trustee of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Capt. Dele Ore, also believed that flight Inspectors are very important to the sector and mustn’t be toyed with for safety reasons.

He said, “The flight inspectors are very important that they shouldn’t be toyed with. There is no other way, the country must get experienced, knowledgeable skilled inspectors to superintend over other professionals and they must be in sufficient numbers.”

Another aviation expert and the former image maker of the defunct Nigerian Airways, Chris Aligbe, also faulted the shortage of Inspectors, saying, it is pivotal to flight operation.

According to him, if there is shortage, then, it’s a training thing. He also said that NCAA should equip themselves with level of personnel that will handle Inspection because they are needed in the aviation industry.

He said, “If we don’t have such personnel there will be problem because they are involve in actual flight operation. Flight Inspection is a major area in the industry that must not be toyed with so, the NCAA should quickly get equipped in that aspect.”

The director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, had confirmed that the country do not have enough inspectors, saying, it was an issue that had been discussed with the ministry. According to him, flight operation inspectors is a global issue, even United States and Europe have that problem because the government cannot pay what the airlines are paying.

He said, “It was a very unfortunate situation. I for one cannot unilaterally address that issue. So, we have documents from salary wages commission. We met the chairman and he confirmed they are working on it. That will resolve the issue on short term, but I am looking at the issue on a longer term solution. It is not a Nigerian issue.”

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