Rector, International Aviation College, Ilorin, Captain Yakubu Okatah

The International Aviation College (IAC), Kwara needs no less than N300 Million to effect maintenance on two of its unserviceable Diamond aircraft to increase the number to five and has called for support from the federal government of Nigeria to support the institution.

Rector of the Ilorin based training institution, Captain Yakubu Okatah who spoke on some of the challenges of the college said although the state government was doing all it can, funding the institution since the COVID-19 pandemic has been an issue.

According to him, the state has no fewer than 11 tertiary institutions and it would be selfish of the college to demand more, hence the reason they are thinking outside the box.

On whether its remaining three aircraft, one single engine Diamond 40 and two multi-engined Diamond 42 could help the ATO achieve its target, Captain Okatah said,”Our program for flight instructions are eight to six in the evening, so we have enough aircraft.

” This is a training institute, you’d expect there would be crashes, incidents. There are some accidents that are beyond repair.

” There are others that are serviceable and we need a minimum of N150m to fix so for the two of them we are talking about N300m. So, it would be selfish for us to ask the Government to fix them and so we are thinking outside the box. We are looking for funds , trying to get more courses in like Cabin Crew Training, Engineering Training, we are trying to get some entrepreneurs interested in the school to come in and put some money…we are taking it step by step.

Captain Okatah who has been Rector barely a year, further made a case for the institution stressing that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic the federal government supported airlines but the ATO got nothing.He equally argued that the school has not benefited from government policy on importation of aircraft and spares and that this has equally affected the school

” We are appealing to the Federal Government, we are hiring Nigerians. Secondly, FG is giving money to private airlines, we need the same treatment. Thirdly, we pay custom duties on our imported aircraft and spares. I think FG should look into that and give us waivers, subventions or grants.”

On reasons why the IAC still have some Private Pilot License( PPL) and Commercial Pilot License ( CPL) he gave reasons:” We came in in March. Our first challenge was that the students were not flying because there were too many for the instructors. So we decided to send some home and let others stay. Some parents withdrew their students to fly in South Africa and the United States but they started returning when IAC started flying.

” In the last four months 25 students have graduated. 15 CPLs multi-engine and 10 PPL and they want to continue to CPL level. “The students we have are remnants, we met them and we are gradually rounding off their courses to graduate them as soon as possible.

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