Lloyd, world’s renowned insurance organisation, has said Arik Air realises about $10 billion annually from its operations for Nigeria’s economy
Arik last year engaged the services of Lloyd to assess its assets and also audit its transactions to know the expanse of its business and its worth.
Lloyd in its report said with a fleet of 24 new generation aircraft, 43,000 flights per annum, airlifting over 2.4 million passengers in all its destinations in 2012, the airline injects $10 billion.
The report stated the amount was inclusive of banking services and charges; the money expended on fuel, food and other supplies, aeronautical and non-aeronautical services; payment of salaries to over 2,800 employees, bills on hotel services, expenditure on training of indigenous pilots, engineers, cabin crew and other services.
Deputy Managing Director and Head of Flight Operations, Ado Sanusi, told THISDAY Arik had 150 Nigerian pilots in its employment and 40 indigenous pilots are recruited for assessment every three months with 50 indigenous engineers, noting the number of Nigerian pilots in Arik was more than the total number of local pilots in all the airlines operating in the country.
“Arik is the only airline after the Nigeria Airways Limited that has well-articulated training programme for Nigerian pilots and engineers and in the beginning 50 per cent of the co-pilots were foreigners but the number of Nigerian co-pilots has risen to 90 per cent,” Sanusi said.
But it has not been a rosy story for the airline because Sanusi disclosed that most of the indigenous pilots trained by the airline on its New Generation (NGs) aircraft were quickly poached by the Middle-east airlines like Emirates, Sama, Fly Dubai and others immediately they get their captainship and this is a great loss of skills and financial resources for the airline.
In the past airlines used to sign a bond with a pilot it trained. The bond is such that after spending huge resources training such pilot, he would have to serve the airline for a number of years.
However, Sanusi said such arrangement does not work these days, pointing out that when a pilot is subjected to such condition he might not be motivated to work.
According to him, such attitude discouraged the airline from deploying funds to train more Nigerian. But he added the airline’s management saw such “sacrifice” as a patriotic duty to ensure that more Nigerians acquire pilot and engineers skills for the modern day aircraft.