The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Wednesday announced plans to open more regional offices as part of its efforts to bring regulation closer to the operators.
Captain Musa Nuhu, Director-General, NCAA, made this known during the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation oversight visit to the agency in Lagos.
Nuhu explained that the step was to reduce the cumbersome nature of regulation and come closer to the operators in the industry.
He said: “We are opening five more regional offices to ensure the job in smaller areas get done and they do not have to refer to Lagos or Abuja.
“This will brings regulation closer to the operators outside Lagos and Abuja.
“Already, Port Harcourt takes care of the South-East and South-South but we are looking at opening a regional office in Enugu for the South-East.
“We are looking at another one in either Maiduguri or Yola for the North-East, Ilorin for the middle-belt and Uyo or Calabar for the South-South.”
Nuhu explained that the training for the inspectors and other regulatory staff was key to the authority oversight function.
The director-general decried a situation where NCAA was competing for manpower, especially pilots and engineers, with airlines that paid better.
Nuhu, however, said that the training was key because those inspectors with the NCAA needed more training to be better or at par with the trends in the industry.
“This will also allow the pilots and engineers to do their job professionally; so to retain them, there is need to make the remuneration nearly at par with the airlines to keep them with us,” he said.
Nuhu said NCAA and the domestic airlines had reached a compromise to ensure debts owed it was reconciled and agreed on payment plan that would be favourable to all concerned.
The director-general reel out some of the immediate needs of NCAA, adding that the regulator understood the difficulty brought by the COVID-19 pandemic to airlines.
Nuhu said that the authority would institute a payment plan that would be favourable to both the agency and operators.
Reacting, Nnolim Nnaji, Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, said the House was on its oversight function to look at what the NCAA had done and intends to do with the funds allocated and would be allocated to it.
He commended NCAA on how it handled the industry during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.