• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Employ Nigerian pilots or lose air operator’s certificates, FG tells airlines

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The Federal Government on Tuesday mandated all airlines operating in the country to from July 1, 2015 have Nigerian pilots in their cockpits, warning that failure to comply with this would lead to revocation of their air operator’s certificates (AOC).

Osita Chidoka, aviation minister, who gave the directive in Lagos at the launching of the Aviation Commits Initiative, also threatened to as from tomorrow, ground private jets registered in foreign numbers but engage in commercial operations. Chidoka also said that Nigerian registered private jets that engage in hire and reward services would equally be affected by the new policy. He explained that for Nigeria to develop, Nigerians must be developed through training of technical staff as at when due.

Sometimes ago, the association of young pilots decried that over 200 pilots were unemployed, explaining that the airlines prefer to employ their foreign counterparts to the detriment of locals who even have more qualifications.

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The association had called on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to look into the anomalies with a view to reducing the numbers. But it appears that the current administration believes in the Nigerian content and ready to implement it to the letter.

Chidoka, who said the Aviation Commits Initiative would help to close some gaps in the system, revealed that at the moment, there are 90 foreign registered aircraft in the country with additional 111 Nigerian registered carriers currently in use in the system, stressing that some of them have diverted from their operational certificates. He decried that their diversion from their operational certificates had led to loss of massive revenues to the Federal Government and urged them to regularise their papers before the Thursday deadline. Besides, as part of AOC acquisition by scheduled airlines, Chidoka said they would be required to train sizeable numbers of technical personnel like pilots and engineers yearly; threatening that failure to comply with this policy would lead to non-revalidation of their AOCs by NCAA.