Sunday , 25 September 2022
Captain Ibrahim Mshelia

Safety: Mshelia advises businessmen to step back, allow professionals manage airlines

  • Knocks NCAA for complacency in certification of key positions
  • Says aviation industry is not over-regulated

CHAIRMAN, West Link Airlines, Captain Ibrahim Mshelia has advised that to forestall a recurrence of safety infractions that happened within aviation industry in the last few months and entrench safety that businessmen should relinquish management of airlines to professionals handle the day to day affairs of running the airline.

This is just as he has given knocked to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) over what he described as lapses on their side in the certification of key position holders like accountable manager stressing that for that position it goes beyond checking a list as there is need to show understanding of the functions of that position.

Mshelia who had an online conversation with reporters on some topical issues in the industry also explained to NigerianFLIGHTDECK correspondent that aviation regulation world over is standard and there is no such thing as over-regulating airlines especially when safety is the key word and where airlines have the primary function of being responsible for his day to day operations and safety.

On the NCAA’s shortcomings, Mshelia pointed out that,” So what CAA has done in that case where they need to get a knock is because, they were complacent in certifying the key post holders you must have post holders that are qualified and if you have key post holder who is suppose to be at the helm directing affairs, he must comply with certain minimum standard just as ICAO says for the CAA man to inspect you and we hammer on that , we insist on that and the CAA tries to respond, that must make sure that who they send to inspect must have qualifications equivalent to those they are coming to inspect or above.

“Now, it looks like there are lapses on their side and so they allowed lapses on the other side. To be an accountable manager or rather a key post holder, you have to be qualified even go through an interview, even that interview must be English, he has to understand the duty of an accountable manager is simplified but actually difficult because do you understand the workings and what you are expected to do with this your company? The answer is yes, they tick it, but do you really understand?

“There will be maintenance issues coming your way, because what has happened with the tyre issue, the engineer had no tyres and maybe somebody is afraid of asking somebody I don’t know, you cannot have tyres in your store and be flying tyres that you’re seeing thread till the thing will blow after takeoff and you still continue anyway and all those things that we read.

“This I’ll fault NCAA for that, they should make sure accountable managers are accountable and then when they come for meetings they do not have to go outside to call somebody to answer them or tell them how to answer a particular question posed on them. These things happen, if you can get the owners to be business men and allow professionals handle the day to day affairs, I think that incident probably may never have happened.”

“Obviously, it would be between the owner and manager and that one is up to him, they can go into the room box themselves, fight them and then they can cry and clean his eyes and come out insofar as they got what they want. I think that would solve most of these problems.”

On alleged over-regulation Mshelia said,” Aviation cannot be over regulated, aviation has a process, it is one of the most regulated industries in the world, but it is also the normal thing so any aviator would readily acknowledge it is the most regulated but to say over-regulated I don’t think this is correct. Yes there is over-zealousness in some cases by individuals but the regulation is very clear and when it’s made it is proposed to us and when amendments are made we operators and our voices are taken into account and then the regulation comes out. Even though, the current regulation needs more of our voices of ours because when they were made some of them were made in a hurry to enable approvals of certain requirements because of audits coming up and things like that

“I don’t know of anybody who likes the CAA. I’ve operated in the US, nobody likes the FAA, I’ve operated in Ghana and most of them don’t like the Ghana CAA, I’ve operated in Gabon, same thing, I’ve operated in Cameroon same thing, I’ve operated in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea same thing, Sierra Leone, Dakar, Senegal..I’ve operated around the world, CAA is CAA it’s just the way the world is.

“Quite frankly, there is a Nigerian factor in everything we do so we don’t say that is the CAA even we the operators too, there are Nigerians factors in attitude but as far as safety is concerned we would never have made category if we are not doing things right, we are doing things right

“As for the last incident that occurred, the CAA certifies you by watching you demonstrate how safely you operate and believe it or not most of the books we wrote them and gave it to them to approve for us. It is a template that ICAO recommended so they make their regulations based on that. An operator  is responsible for his day to day  operations and safety and NCAA is just to make sure they do it right and if you don’t, they just come in there and stop you. We are actually supposed to be the ones regulating and maintaining for ourselves.

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