Students of International College of Aeronautics, Lagos and the Proprietor, Capt Solomon Adio, (first right) at an Air Show in the US
For aviation in Nigeria to have the stamp of professionalism all around its services being delivered in the entire air transport value chain, quality training institutions become imperative in nurturing highly skilled professionals that the industry would absorb and in turn discharge impeccable professional services to its various consumers.
Hence, the regulator of the business of air transport in Nigeria, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has been urged to give more than the usual attention to the Aviation Training Organizations, ATO, especially those outside its dragnet to come into its fold for adequate oversight and standardization.
The President, Association of Aviation Training Organizations of Nigeria, AATON, Mr Bernard Bankole, gave the charge while playing host to the organizing committee for the 26th edition of the League of Aviation and Airport Correspondents of Nigeria, LAAC-N’s annual seminar scheduled for 28th July, at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos.
Giving the rationale for his notion that professionalism should start from when the training is being imparted on the trainees, the AATON President said professionalism “is the first step to shared prosperity. If you find yourself in an environment where professionalism thrives, it means the standard will be high and things will be done properly”, he said.
He observed that too often the regulator’s attention was exclusively on the airlines to the detriment of other subsects in the aviation value chain.
He enthused, “so when you look at the aviation industry, you will find out that a lot of attention is given to the airlines because the regulators and service providers believed that is where the money comes from and other areas have been neglected”, he said.
To buttress his point, he cited the neglect the flagship of aviation training institution in Nigeria, nay Africa, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, NCAT, Zaria, Kaduna State, had suffered before the intervention of the current aviation minister, Hadi Sirika.
The AATON helmsman said, “it is the minister that decided to even pay attention to NCAT by getting them simulators to improve learning in the school”.
Bernard Bankole, who also is the immediate past President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies, NANTA, urged that pressure should be removed from NCAT, by approving more training institutions as merely 20 accredited ATOs are grossly insufficient for a nation of well over 200 million people with the youths constituting a greater chunk of the population.
Moreover, it is a self-evident truth that most youths are yearning to make a career in the most glamourous aspect of aviation, – Pilot, Cabin crew.
The immediate past NANTA President averred that “People are not aware that they could do other courses other than becoming a pilot or engineer. What happens to flight dispatch? This is one of the courses we do in our school and many more”, Bankole said.
He however challenged his fellow proprietor members of ATO and NCAA to come up with ways and means of creating awareness to encourage other institutions to sign up and be accredited.
While those yet to satisfy the conditions for getting registered he said will be assisted on how all righteousness would be fulfilled to earn accreditation from the NCAA.
Bankole added that should the media help create the right perception about the entire gamut of skills and knowledge available from these ATO members, investments in training would also receive a shot in the arm.
Mr Bernard Bankole who is also the Flinchglow travels CEO, further elucidated that the suggested media awareness will not only inspire other training institutes to “register with NCAA, other investors who are looking for areas to invest in the sector can also come in. That is what we need to do. Aviation journalists can also help us to raise the standard by coming up with things that will challenge us. We need to start showcasing what we have”, he said.
He argued that only by the enthronement of superior knowledge which will reflect in the height of professional services being delivered in each of the aviation value chains, could the prospect of Nigeria emerging as a hub be actualized and not by mere wishful thinking nor by miracle, nor by clairvoyance nor by contrivance.Share