In the next 10 years expatriates may take over all the high-end technical positions in the Nigerian aviation industry due to lack of well-trained and type-rated technical personnel in the industry as declared by former President of the Aviation Round Table (ART), Captain Dele Ore.
Captain Ore made this known in an interview in Lagos while stating that the continuous signing of Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs), by the Federal Government with several foreign countries and other unfavourable policies would continue to hamper growth of the airline sub-sector in the country.
Ore while expatiating on the technical personnel issue, warned that with the high level of expatriates taking over positions of local technical personnel, the next 10 years might be worse for the Nigerian aviation industry.
He explained that several pilots trained from different aviation colleges in the country and beyond are roaming the streets without jobs, positing that local airlines are getting dispensation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for expatriate quota, which would negatively affect Nigerian professionals in the future.
He decried that as far back as 1984, the former Nigerian Airways had put Nigerians in critical positions, but the reverse was the case now as foreigners had taken over.
According to Captain Ore local jobs are in jeopardy and lack of training since the demise of the national carrier, Nigeria Airways has not make it any easy.
“If care is not taken, soon, we will have half-baked aircraft commanders in the cockpit. The government commander, a Nigerian should act as a co-pilot,” he said.
On policy, Ore declared that bad policy formulations and implementations of the government in the past led to the early collapse of operating airlines in the country, stressing that despite this, such bad policies still continued unabated by the government.
For instance, Ore castigated the government over multiple entries for foreign airlines without any reciprocity from their Nigerian counterparts.
He insisted that there was nothing wrong with signing of BASAs, but said the nation must benefit with such arrangements.
He was however silent on the recent BASA arrangement with the Qatari Government, saying that he was yet to see the details.
“Nothing has happened to improve the policies for the airlines. Our policies will soon drown airlines that are operational. We still have multiple entry points for foreign carriers. With that policy, we are killing our domestic carriers. We are indirectly opening up our airspace courtesy of such agreements.
“It’s only the ground handling companies that are doing well in the sector while others are crawling. We don’t have enough places to train personnel for the sector and nothing has been done in the past six months of Sen. Hadi Sirika as a Minister of State for Aviation to curtail capital flights in the sector,” he said.