Chinedu Eze

The Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Captain Abdulsalami Mohammed has said that over 300 Nigerian pilots are unemployed because they seek to operate commercial airlines after training.

He therefore advised newly trained pilots to seek to fly private airplanes, including sortie aircraft and others under General Aviation to gain experience before applying to operate commercial airlines.

The Rector was reacting to the fact that a large number of Nigerian pilots who have operating licenses are unemployed because they tend to seek for jobs with commercial airlines that would rather demand for experienced pilots than to employ those without experience and needs to be type-rated.

Abdulsalami said working with General Aviation was the way it was done in other parts of the world but in Nigeria, newly trained pilots seek to be type-rated on commercial airliners that are becoming increasingly difficult because the airlines would rather not use their aircraft to for training of pilots.

Many people have expressed concern that the cockpits of an average Nigerian airline aircraft is filled with expatriates but the airlines explain that they employ experienced pilots who have garnered thousands of hours of experience and most of those with such experience are expatriates.

Speaking to journalists recently, Mohammed explained that when these young pilots graduate, they need to continue flying to garner enough experience to enable them become employable by commercial airlines.

According to the NCAT Rector, these young pilots should not be in a hurry to fly the big and flamboyant commercial jets as they can start from light or medium aircraft to garner experience.

He however stated that training some of these pilots is a huge burden on these airlines, especially as many of them end up leaving for greener pastures.

“Unemployed pilots is a subject that is dear to me because every day I get a call from someone who wants his son employed or I get a question on why would I bother to come out and train as a pilot when there are no jobs. As you know, we have about 300 unemployed young pilots in the market and the airlines are reluctant to employ and train them because they claim that when you train some of them they run away.