Sirika Hails Caverton’s MRO, Flight Simulator Facility

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Chinedu Eze

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has commended Caverton Helicopters on its newly-built Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility and Flight Simulator for the training of pilots.

Sirika who toured the facility located at the airside of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos said that the MRO and the simulator were critical for the industry aviation because they would enable the maintenance of aircraft and the retraining of pilots locally, thereby saving the country huge foreign exchange.

He said Caverton had done well, not only to boost the GDP of the country, but also in ensuring capacity building of the teeming Nigerian youths.

He reiterated the federal government’s commitment to continue to support businesses like Caverton and other enterprises in the aviation industry.

“Our primary purpose in government is to provide full support to entrepreneurs for them to provide the needed service and employ our people. And this exactly what is happening here. I am very impressed and I am more than willing to support Caverton Helicopters and other entrepreneurs in aviation industry. And as I said in my earlier remarks, we are reorienting Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to shift focus from being police of the industry to becoming an enablers of businesses. The agency will be able to create that partnership that will help develop the industry, provide the service, employ our people and kick-start the economy and ginger it up. These enterprises will contribute to the GDP of our country. Investments like the one done by Caverton will certainly do that,” Sirika said.

In his brief remarks, the Chairman of Caverton Offshore Support Group, Dr. Aderemi Makanjuola thanked the minister for honoring the company’s invitation.

“The minister has been part of it from the beginning in terms of advice and all that we needed to do to get it right. We are proud today that he is here to support us,” he said.

Speaking about the facility, the Chief Executive Officer, Caverton Offshore Support Group, Mr. Bode Makanjuola explained that the facility was about 70 per cent completed.

“We envisage that it would be ready by first quarter of 2021. Our simulator, which would go into training, is already on ground as it has arrived the country. The Simulator is for the training of pilots. Apart from ensuring employment for Nigerians, we are looking at other things in terms of capacity development and capital flight. I am sure other operators spend millions of dollars flying pilots abroad for training. Caverton has an annual budget of about $3 million flying pilots to facility training centers in Dubai, Europe and United States. With the training facility here, the money will now stay in Nigeria and will not go out of the country. The facility will not only be servicing Nigeria but West Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.”

In a speech, the Managing Director/Accountable Manager, Caverton Helicopters, Mr. Rotimi Makanjuola said he was honoured to have the minister in their midst.

“I am very sure he is very proud of what we have achieved. As the CEO and Chairman have said, the focus is on capacity building and training of more Nigerians. Over the years through the help of the chairman we have trained over 165 pilots and over 100 engineers all of whom are still within Caverton; some have moved to other companies while some have gained employment in other countries. We look at Nigeria and what Caverton is doing in the technical labour market, when people gain the experience and the training even if they move to other countries, they would obviously make reference to us.

“Like I said, the simulator is going to be here and anybody in Europe can come and do their training here in Nigeria. There are no many helicopter-training simulators around the world. For Nigeria to have the only one in Africa will definitely bring a lot of capital inflow into the country and we are very excited about it,” he said.

It would be recalled that early this year, Caverton signed factory acceptance of First Thales Reality H Simulator in Africa. The AW 139 Reality H-Full Flight sighed in France in March was the first helicopter full flight simulator Level ‘D’ to be installed in Africa. With this simulator, Caverton will deliver state-art-training for chopper pilots.