Nigerian pilots seem untrustworthy for employment as there is a habit of abandoning employers who spend time and money to get them type rated and experienced on new aircraft for greener pastures, according to the Chairman of Arik Air, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide.
The Arik boss hit hard as he explained why the airline hardly employs Nigerian pilots and engineers.
Arik Air aircraft
Speaking at a one-day forum organized by the Aviation Round Table, ART, in Lagos, Arumemi-Ikhide noted that when the airline commenced operations in 2007, the airline came in with brand new and new generational aircraft, which many Nigerians were not expertise in.
He however said that the airline then took it upon itself to train Nigerian pilots and engineers to be type-rated on the new aircraft, but decried that few months after training; they abandoned the airline for another others especially in the Middle East carriers.
He lamented that the carrier regularly spent massive amount of money on training of these personnel, but gained nothing in return.
He decried further that no fewer than four of the airline’s pilots had been poached by the Federal Government for executive presidential fleet, rather than training pilots for the industry.
He insisted that employing Nigerians would be far cheaper, more convenient for the carrier and create jobs for the teeming populace, but the attitude of the technical personnel had drove the airline to hiring foreign expatriates.
He said, “It’s in our own interest to have Nigerian pilots and engineers as jobs would be created for the country. Unfortunately, we have new generational aircraft with no Nigerian expertise on them. However, we sent some of them to the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, NCAT, Zaria and other aviation colleges around the world for training, but as soon as they are trained, they leave the company to join Middle East carriers.
“Arik Air has done a lot in training for the industry, but they moved out almost immediately. We approached the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, on this, but the agency told us that it’s a free market and that there was nothing they could do on it.
“Now, we have some Ethiopian Airlines pilots and engineers working with us now. Until NCAA does what it is supposed to do, we will not employ much Nigerian pilots and engineers.”
Also speaking, the former Managing Director, Nigeria Airways, Capt. Muhammed Joji said that the government should not have any financial input in the planned national carrier.
Rather, he said the airline should be enlisted on the floor of the Nigerian stock exchange for investors to buy into.
He further decried that the land rate per square metre in the country’s aviation industry was the most expensive in the world at N50, 000 per square metre.
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