The Rector, Nigerian Col
lege of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, Captain (Mrs) Chinyere Kalu has said that the school would commence helicopter training and other Degree programmes this year.
Speaking in an interview on the transformation of the college in the past three years, Kalu said training of helicopter pilots would commence as soon as the college took delivery of its acquired Bel 206 helicopters presently in Lagos.
According to her, it became necessary to introduce helicopter training as 80 per cent of the helicopter pilots operating in Nigeria are foreigners being used for offshore oil rigs in the Niger Delta.
“It is a very sensitive area and key in our economy and should be well secured. Having such operations done by foreigners, you will agree with me that it is not in the best interest of our nation. If Nigerians are in the forefront in taking over fixed wings, I don’t see the reason why rotary wings should be left in the hands of foreigners especially the sensitive nature of it. We are very hopeful that we will commence this year, we are at the final stage and we will need smaller helicopters to start”, she said.
Captain Kalu also announced that the college was embarking on reflecting all its training aircraft in the college as the current ones were old and becoming increasing difficult to maintain by the college.
“We have 23 aircraft and we need more, we are in the process of reflecting because the single engine aircraft we have been flying are being depleted by the day due to age and incidences”, Kalu noted.
NCAT boss explained that the college third hangar will be put into use soon after repairs, adding that it will take care of the aircraft instead of flying them abroad.
She said it was extremely expensive and uneconomical to have these aircraft fixed abroad and returned into the country but emphasized that with such hangar repairs will be carried out.
With over 500 students in the college, Kalu hinted that the college would commence its Higher National Deploma (HND) programmes which would increase the students number to about a thousand including those on short courses, three, six and twelve months respectively.
The Rector explained that the college was pursuing and processing accreditation for its degree course with the Aviation Accreditation Board International in the USA.
According to her, “the college intends to offer courses on aerospace engineering, we want to offer degree course along with flying, dispatchers course, aviation management and so on so there are a lot of courses we would want to offer beyond what we are offering now and also in line launch with aviation training”.
She disclosed that more instructors would be employed as soon the courses commenced.
On the shortage of pilots and engineers in the country, the NCAT boss remarked that the country has produced a lot of jobless pilots and engineers but accused airline operators of going for expatriates at the detriment of trained Nigerian pilots and engineers.
She said Nigerian pilots understand the terrain and weather of the country better trained than their foreign counterparts and appealed to Nigerian operators to be patriotic by employing indigenous pilots.
Buhari Approves N10bn For Rehabilitation Of Enugu Airport
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of N10billion Special Intervention Fund for immediate repairs and upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement, said this was the high point of the courtesy call on the President by a delegation of governors and leaders of the South east at the State House in Abuja, yesterday.
The President said he was aware of the central nature of the airport, which was closed for repairs since August 24, to the socio-economic development of the South east.
President Buhari said he was aware of the infrastructure deficits all over the country occasioned by lack of judicious use of available resources in the past.
However, according to him, his administration is working on remedying the situation.
He said: “We are trying our best to make sure that infrastructure rehabilitation is carried out very quickly.
“I personally firmly believe that if we get infrastructure correct, the roads, rail, power, most Nigerians will mind their businesses, they will not even care who is in government.
“But when you deny them infrastructure, it will be difficult for them to compete and move across the country and regions.’’
He appealed to the governors to explain this position to their people.
“Please, have the courage to continue to explain to your constituencies whenever they feel that there is laxity in government effort to rehabilitate infrastructure.
“We are doing our best within the resources available to the government. The Federal Government is working to fix infrastructure deficit in the country. The challenges are there.
“It is our responsibility to fix things, we are doing it and we will continue to do our best in this regard,’’ the President said.
In a presentation on behalf of the governors and leaders of the South East, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, while expressing gratitude over some of Mr President’s infrastructural developments in the region, noted that the people of the South East were delighted with the speed and quality of work at the Second Niger Bridge.
Monarch Lauds Wike On PH-Ethiopia Direct Flight Initiatives
The initiative by the Rivers State Government to partner the Ethiopian Government on direct flight operations to Port Harcourt International Airport has been described as an economic booster.
This was the view of the Nyesrisi Eli Woji, King Leslie N. Eke when he spoke with newsmen at his palace in Woji, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area last Wednesday.
The monarch pointed out that the Port Harcourt-Ethiopia direct flight would increase the rate of business activities in the state upon its take-off.
According to him, since flight is the fastest means of transportation, business operators would have the opportunity to record high turn over rate.
The Eze Oha Evo of Evo Kingdom, maintained that business activities in the state would wear an international look with the planned Port Harcourt-Ethiopia direct flight operations.
The monarch who is the Eze Gbakagbaka and General Secretary, Association of Niger Delta Monarchs of Nigeria (ANDMON), also noted that the initiative would bring about job creation, thereby addressing the issue of unemployment.
He commended Governor Nyesom Wike for his foresightedness and determination to list the state among developed cities of the world.
“The governor’s plan to introduce direct flight operations from Ethiopia to Port Harcourt, to my mind, is just to enable him list the state among big and developed towns across the globe”, he said.
King Eke explained that the best way to develop a state was to introduce several business angles in order to make room for all classes of business operators.
He, however, appealed to the governor to consider sponsoring some students who may be interested in becoming pilots so as to enable the state have its own trained pilots.
Meanwhile, the traditional ruler called on the Federal Government and its relevant agencies to key into Governor Wike’s initiative and perfect all processes that would encourage its early take -off.
FEC Approves N2.4bn For Aviation Security Shooting Range
The Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu has approved N2.4 billion for the construction of an indoor shooting range for the nation’s aviation security.
The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja last Wednesday.
According to him, the aim is to further train the security personnel, who have obtained Presidential approval to start carrying arms, for improved security in the nation’s airports.
“Today, in council, two memoranda were considered for aviation. The first is construction of indoor shooting range for aviation security.
“Recall some time ago, Mr President, in conformity with the Act established Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), had approved that aviation security carry arms for improved security.
“You also recall that these aviation personnel were trained and still receiving training and profiling and all things that will make them efficient at the DSS and other sister organisations.
“And adding to that, they need tools and equipment to play the role they ought to play to keep us safe and secure.
“So, a contract was awarded to Messrs Donteck, it is a Nigerian in an association with another company called Action Targets of the US and the total contract sum is N2.43 billion,’’ he said.
Sirika further disclosed that the shooting range project was in line with suggestions and recommendations by the United Nations counter terrorism unit and also the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
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