Captain Ibrahim Mshelia has advised Minister Festus Keyamo to ensure the proper approvals for the construction of the second Abuja Runway.
He further urged the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to employ designated inspectors, emphasising the need to address their manpower struggles.
On runway considerations, Mshelia stressed the imperative of meeting safety standards before deploying contractors.
He cautioned against initiating construction until the NCAA greenlights the site and ensures its safety parameters. “The runway has been in the books and I think this minister can do it. However, he must not send contractors to the site until the NCAA approves that the runway will be safe in location. That is in the NCAA’s purview, not FAAN.”
Addressing manpower challenges, Mshelia acknowledged the time-consuming nature of training. He proposed a practical solution. He proposed implementing designated inspectors as a temporary measure to bridge the gap until training additional staff is complete.
Recall: DGCA Musa Nuhu highlighted the challenges of retaining trained regulators due to pay disparities. He underscored, “The industry is expanding, but the CAA is shrinking in capacity.”
Mshelia, however, said, “Everyone, including the FAA, uses designated inspectors. Everybody does it except us as Nigerians, we have never tried to do it I don’t know why.
Offering, “As a pilot with my experience, I am willing to be designated by the NCAA to go and perform inspections. They’d call and say go and inspect Company ‘A’ and I’d go and inspect and report to them.
“There are many of us willing; it gives you the stopgap while we keep training other people to come and be permanent staff. “If they permit the NCAA to have designated inspectors, these individuals don’t need to be staff members of the NCAA,” the veteran pilot acknowledged.