By G9ija

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says it has taken steps to tackle the shortage of safety and airworthiness inspectors to meet the growing demand for air transport in the country.

The Director General, NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, confirmed the development during an interactive session with the League of Aviation and Airports Correspondents (LAAC) on Tuesday in Lagos.

Nuhu said the authority was in talks with the Ministry of Aviation and it had received approval to see how it could improve the Conditions of Service of its technical staff.

He noted that the move would also be subjected to approval of the appropriate government agency with a view to attracting and retaining its core technical personnel.

The director general said the NCAA was unable to compete financially with other operators on retaining some of the young vibrant safety personnel.

“Our surveillance programme has increased that it has put a lot of eyes on us, the workload has significantly increased and this might get worse as time goes.

“This is also putting a lot of stress on us and issues of professional personnel are one of the biggest challenges we have in NCAA.

“We need to train our staff, retrain them but its a bit of a difficult scenario.

“Like flight inspectors, these are airline pilots and no one is going to leave his airline to earn 20 or 30 per cent of his/her salaries.

“At the end of the day what happens? We get pilots that are retired and I think we need to have a mixture of young inspectors and retired inspectors.

“We want to have the right mixture, but it is very difficult for us to attract the young guys because we cannot compete with what the industry is paying.

“And also, the issue of air worthiness inspectors, we have inspectors that come to work for us for like eight years they get all the training, they get all the experience and the next thing they tell you bye-bye.

“Somebody is doubling, tripling and quadrupling their salary so it is a very difficult situation we find ourselves in,” he said.

Nuhu explained that despite the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector has continued to improve with new airlines coming into the industry and existing ones increasing capacity.

The director general noted that the growth had brought about better connectivity, especially with most state government’s building airport infrastructure.

Nuhu noted that connectivity in the country had improved significantly and it was going to get much better as people can almost travel from any part of the country to another.

“I can travel from Asaba to Kano from Port Harcourt to Kano, also to Sokoto, Bauchi, Gombe, it is really amazing.”

He said many state governments were also building airports all over the place.

“So, with that, it has increased the span of activities and responsibilities of the NCAA as the regulator of the industry.