By Chinedu Eze
Nigeria’s oldest airline, Aero Contractors has launched a training school to end the dearth of skilled manpower in the aviation industry.
The training school slated to start in January was launched by the company after obtaining Approved Training Organisation (ATO) licence from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Aero said the school would kick-off with the training of cabin crew and dispatchers and later other courses would be added to the curriculum, noting that it aims to be aviation training facility for the West and Central Africa.
It also aims to partner with the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria and similar international institutions to give Nigeria the best skilled manpower for the industry.
The CEO of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi, while commenting on the initiative said: “We have just got Aviation Training Organisation license. We have been on this for a long time because we wanted to get it right; we wanted to make sure we have a training organisation that is based on a solid foundation, which can be grown into a centre of excellence.
“Now, we are starting with two approvals on our ATO, which are flight dispatcher and cabin crew. We intend to grow that into a bigger school and eventually into a research centre.
“We want to build Aero Contractors to be a one-stop shop in aviation. After the training organisation approved by NCAA, we have maintenance organisation that is also approved by NCAA; we have maintenance facility, charter business and scheduled flight service. These are four strategic business units that we would like to grow separately so that they can feed the market. The market is under served in all these aspects that I have mentioned. We intend to build all these strategic business units into full business organizations that can sustain themselves and be profitable.”
The Head of the ATO, Rex Okunor, said the aim of Aero Contractors of opening the school is to use it to support the industry.
“We want to use the training school to support the industry. What we want to do is to partner with all the training centres in Nigeria and run programmes. We have also plans to extend to the West and Central African sub-region.
“Aero as a company has been existence since 1959, so we are deeply rooted and to have a training school is unparalleled. And I think that when we start fully, hopefully in January, the industry will see what I would want to call, quality.
“In the aviation industry there is really dearth of manpower, especially for pilots and we believe we can partner with international organisations that are involved in this kind of training. We will also partner with the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology. This will help close the gap by training and keep retraining the aviation workforce. With that we think we can contribute our quota to the industry,” Okunor said.