Monday, February 06, 2012

Nigeria needs 9,000 pilots

For the country’s aviation industry to remain relevant globally, the sub-sector requires no fewer than 9, 000 pilots in the next five years, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCCA), Dr. Harold Demuren, has disclosed.

Speaking  with The Nation, Demuren said the rate at which the global aviation industry was moving, the request for technical personnel would increase. He urged stakeholders to show more commitment to the industry.

Demuren said NCAA has issued out over 5,656 pilots licences, out of which 1,032 are validly held, with 2,625 cabin crew licences issued, out of which 1,318 are validly held. 

For aircraft maintenance engineers, over 3,049 has been issued, but only 923 are validly held.

He said: "International aviation will double in the next 20 years and demand will strain the supply of all types of safety personnel, including pilots, maintenance engineers and air traffic controllers. So, there will be need for more pilots, engineers, cabin crew, more air traffic controllers, more flight dispatchers and more airports operation personnel.

"Unfortunately, skilled aviation professionals like pilots, maintenance engineers, air traffic controllers and others cannot be cloned overnight. It takes time, it requires money and requires years of experience after training."

He, however, lamented that the continent’s aviation industry including Nigeria is losing skilled aviation professionals to the Middle East and Asian airline operators who offer better conditions of service such as double salary, free medical, zero tax and free holidays twice in a year.

Demuren said most male technical personnel in the industry are prone to constant migration for improved packages while their female counterparts are more stable.

He explained that because of the constant movement of male personnel, NCAA devised means to attract and retain skilled personnel by encouraging the training of women aviation professionals in the sub-sector.

But emphasised that aviation training is capital intensive as one-third of the agency’s budget is committed to the training of safety professionals, maintaining that the regulatory agency is pushing for 10 per cent of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement funds be dedicated for training of pilots, engineers, cabin crew and air traffic controllers at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.


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