Cabin Crew executives, captains of industry, aspiring crew and stakeholders convened at the 3rd cabin Crew Fair 2019 with theme: The cabin Crew Profession: Our Challenges; to discuss the challenges of the profession and surmised that more needs to be done to strengthen the profession and prepare practitioners for life after the air.
In her welcome address, convener of the Fair, Mrs. Joy Ogbebo, Founder of MamaJ Consult Limited admitted that the cabin crew profession has its challenges but that it was important to start a conversation around these challenges and proffer solutions that would transcend the now.
She emphasized the importance of the aviation industry investing in mentorship programs like the fair stating that the industry needs to support those willing to build capacity through their wealth of knowledge as that is the only way raise the next level of professionals.
Keynote speaker and executive Director of Bi Courtney Aviation Services (BASL), Mr. Rodger Whittle said that in other clime the issue of age limitation is not there as experienced crew are needed but stated that in Nigeria the reverse is the case as crew are gradually nudged out when they start losing looks.
According to him, Nigeria has a small aviation community with few new jobs and the industry prefers ‘youth’ over experience where remuneration levels are low and there is a lack of career path opportunities.
He said,” Who would you rather in an emergency a crew who is just two or three years in the job explaining an emergency or someone who has had years of experience and who will look at you warmly and explain the situation without panic? Youth is good but nothing beats experience.”
Cabin crew Manager of Aero Contractors, Mrs. Kudirat Bello who spoke to Nigerianflightdeck on the sidelines of the Fair said the dwindling fortunes of the cabin crew executive is directly linked to the growth of the aviation industry as it is currently both are not doing so well.
According to her, in the last two decades, the aviation industry has witnessed a lot of ups and downs which in no small way posed challenges to crew members.
“First of such challenges is the aspect of employment sustainability. As crew members’ airlines have folded up in recent time and this leaves a lot of crew uncertain about their future. Gone are the days the cabin crew will fly with passion, pleasure and pride, now they are working for job sustainability.
Bello highlighted the role of the cabin crew stating,” Lifetime of a Cabin Crew is one predicated on ensuring safety and comfort but primarily safety. It’s the job of being a safety officer, first aider, fire fighter, customer care officer and a whole lot hence discharging these duties the crew meets noticeable challenges that if not well-managed has the tendency of sabotaging one’s efforts.”
“Cabin crew are the eyes, the nose and the ears of the cockpit onboard any flight.”
Cabin Crew Manager of Air Peace, Ms Florence Opia explained that the cabin crew executive is beyond just a service person as she is a safety officer, being a bringer of comfort was secondary as safety is his/her primary role.
According to her, so many people misconstrue that fact and just see them as service people.
Opia said,” Cabin Crew are all trained on ensuring safety and comfort but primarily safety. They are the eyes of the pilot in the cabin.
Majority of people just see the crew as under-educated but that is not true as even the minimum entry is an OND in some cases apart from whatever degrees they hold crew continuously train themselves to be on top of their game, to improve their competence and equip themselves for the job and in extension other jobs for their life after crew service
Chief Executive of Ropeways, Captain Dapo Olumide commended Mrs. Ogbebo for her initiative stating that out of all aviation programs, she has had more impact in capacity building for the industry.
Captain Olumide applauded her resolve in the face of adversity and non-commitment in the industry and solicited more support to what she was trying to build.