A former President, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Mr Isaac Balami, said successful C-Check by Aero Contractors’ engineers on its Boeing 737 aircraft is an indication that Nigeria’s aviation sector is improving.
Balami, also a pilot and engineer at Aero, made this known on Tuesday in Abuja. He said the airlines’ engineers that carried out the check were 99 per cent Nigerians, adding that the country had enormous human capital in the sector.
According to him, airline owners before now have failed to look inwards as they do not have confidence on Nigerian aircraft engineers except for expatriates.
“As a national president of NAAPE for eight years, we were able to build human capital through a lot of trainings and I can tell you boldly that Nigerians are capable.
“The truth of the matter is that the people that did that job are 99 per cent Nigerians and it is an indication that Nigeria can succeed in the business of aviation.
“Nigerians can do everything whether engine or landing gear, restructure, repair or metal work, we have capable trained Nigerians and most of them are trained in the U.S. and different parts of the world.
“We have both international and local certification, but all the Nigerian engineers need is just encouragement and what has happened in Aero Contractors is an eye opener and it will send a strong signal.
“We have been able to prove that we can do it locally and also prove to the international community that Nigeria has the manpower to carry out C-Check,’’ he said.
Balami commended the management of Aero Contractors and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for their confidence that the local aircraft engineers could carry out the C-check.
He said the check was the first of its kind to take place in Nigeria since the demise of the defunct Nigerian Airways, and commended the Federal Government for creating the enabling environment.
According to him, C-Check is the highest level of aircraft maintenance which is being carried out every 18 to 24 months on an aircraft whereby the whole aircraft is dismantled.
“It is the highest level of inspection of an aircraft engine. C-Check gives you the ability to be able to dissect the aircraft and carry out a thorough inspection and Nigeria has been able to do it.
“I am happy we have a minister who is an aviation expert and we also have people all over the industry at the helms who are experts in the field. As such, what we need is to create an enabling environment for airlines to succeed,’’ he said.
Balami said equipment and adequate manpower had been major challenges in the nation’s aviation industry, and urged the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika to implement his aviation road map.
He explained that the defunct Nigerian airways was able to carry out D-Check, C-Check on Boeing 737-300 series before it was liquidated even before the Ethiopian and other African airlines could.
According to him, Aero has opened the way and a lot of other local carriers are taking the bull by the horn and a lot of them are competing seriously on international routes.
“Medview and Air Peace are trying seriously and Arik is gradually finding its feet and so the prospect of aviation in 2018 is bright.
“If the government is able to implement its aviation road map, Nigeria will soon take over African aviation industry once again to compete with Ethiopian, South African, British Airways, and other global carriers,’’ he said