The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) wants the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) removed from the civil service structure to enable the agency attract the right personnel to safeguard the aviation industry.
The AON in a letter to the Senate on January 19th, 2022 and addressed to the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan and signed by its President, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa called on the Federal Government to accede to the request as it is an immediate safety concern about the aviation industry.
The AON President states that, the NCAA is established to regulate the aviation industry and implement government policies in the industry and also enforce the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety standards and recommended practices to ensure that the operators in the industry met the safety requirements.
He stresses that, the agency will only be able to do this if it attracts the right personnel with sound technical know-how and to attract these special skills, it must be willing to offer these personnel attractive and competitive emoluments.
“In order to effectively carry out its important duties as highlighted above, the NCAA needs to attract and engage a team of technically sound professionals in virtually every field of aviation, notably flight operations, engineering, safety inspectors, dispatchers, cabin executives among others, so as to be able to conduct regular oversight of the industry.
“Sir, it is however sad to note that there is a growing level of deficiency today within the NCAA in the area of human capacity due to its inability to attract and retain experienced industry professionals as a result of its inadequate recruitment and salary regime compared to the offers they get from working for the airlines,” AON said.
The Airline Operators body say, because of this situation, many Inspectors have left the NCAA and the few that have stayed are not well-motivated and hardly inadequate to meet the requirements of the industry and adds that the young personnel that are in the agency currently do not have the required experience.
The letter notes that, this portends grave danger to flight safety and flight operations, as the limited hands are either too old and tired or are too inexperienced to undertake proper and adequate oversight functions over airlines’ operations.
The operator states that, no country allows its Civil Aviation Authority salaries to be determined by civil service rules.
“The safety challenges are real and should be addressed through legislation for the good of the industry and safety of the lives of the flying public. Sir, there is therefore a need to, as matter of urgency, find a way to immediately address the problem in order to forestall a potential beckoning disaster.
“AON would therefore, like to use this medium to respectfully call on the National Assembly to urgently review the establishment Act of the NCAA and to immediately remove the agency from the civil service salary structure in order for the agency to be able to attract the urgently needed experts for the sake of safety”.
Reporting by Nosa Aituamen, editing by Daniel Adejo.