Aviation Stakeholders Raise Alarm Over Gloomy Future

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Stakeholders, yesterday, warned that the ageing workforce and lack of succession plan in the aviation industry are serious threats to the sector.

At a one-day workshop organised by the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Lagos State, South West Nigeria, aviation savants warned that the dearth of qualified workforce in a few years will have perilous safety implications in the Nigerian airspace.

“The implication of this on safety is quite obvious. It imposes stress on available human resources and engenders a situation where inexperienced personnel handle sensitive positions. This is a threat to safety,” Mr. Sam Oduselu, the AIB Commissioner said at the workshop with theme ‘Human Capital Development And Succession Plan In Aviation’

He added: “Safety is the cornerstone of the air transportation business. Safety however cannot be attained when an industry lacks an adequate supply of competent and qualified personnel. A gap analysis of the Nigerian aviation industry’s human resources would reveal a gloomy future.”

Oduselu disclosed that expatriates are fast taking over the industry. He added that the trend “is costly and risky”.

“While aging infrastructure can be fixed within a short period, given availability of funds, it takes time to fix aging workforce,” Oduselu said.

The Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Fidelia Akuabata Njeze, attributed the lack of succession plan in the aviation sector to neglect and proper implementation of set standards by successive governments.

“The Nigerian aviation industry is currently saddled with several operational challenges like poor infrastructure, under-capitalisation, credit worthiness of operators, negative effects of global recession.”

“This is the result of two decades of policy neglect and proper implementation of standards that has ultimately taken its toll on the orderly succession of exiting personnel in the industry,” Alhaji Ibrahim Auyo, who read the minister’s address, said.

The minister disclosed that qualified Nigerians in the sector are being lured by the emerging economies in the Gulf and the Far East to the detriment of the country.

The Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Hon. David Idoko, attributed the looming crisis in the sector to selfish interests. He advised that Chief Executive officers in the sector should be given ample time to groom successors.

He called for a better remuneration in the sector.

The Head of Service in the country, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, disclosed that the government needs a minimum of N40 billion to train all civil servants each year.

He said there is a need to train and retrain civil servants and boost performance at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology in Zaria.

The Director General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, Dr. Anthony Anuforom, disclosed that weather contributes to about 40 percent of all air crashes and must be taken seriously.

“The issue of ageing workforce is giving NIMET management a nightmare. It’s making me to lose sleep,” Anuforom said.

He disclosed that at least 55 of his staff may be retiring this year without anyone to replace them.

—Simon Ateba