Why we don’t employ Nigerian pilots, engineers – Arik Air Chief

 The Chairman of Arik Air, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, has finally opened up on why the airline hardly employ Nigerian pilots and engineers.
Speaking at a one-day forum organised by the Aviation Round Table (ART) in Lagos, Arumemi-Ikhide  explained that when the airline commenced operations in 2007, it came in with brand new generational aircraft, which many Nigerians were not expert in.

According to him,  the airline took it upon itself to train Nigerian pilots and engineers to be type-rated on the new aircraft, but lamented that few months after training, they abandoned the airline for other airlines, especially the Middle East carriers.

While lamenting how the carrier regularly spent massive amount of money on training of these personnel but gained nothing in return, the airline chairman further declared 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.
Though he agreed that employing Nigerians would be far cheaper, more convenient for the carrier and create jobs for the teeming populace, but he decried the attitude of the technical personnel, which, he said, had driven the airline to hiring foreign expatriates.

His 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 were trained, they left 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.

“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.”

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