As part of its human capital development, domestic carrier, Dana Air yesterday decorated two of its captains and three First Officers at the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA2), Lagos.
The two captains were Capt. Kalu Sylvester and Ibrahim Kazeem, while the three First Officers were Ilesanmi Ayodele, Afolabi Damilola and Lawal Wahab.
They were all decorated at the MMA2 conference centre by Dana Air Director of Flight Operations (DFO), Capt. Segun Omole and the Accountable Manager / Chief Operating Officer of Dana Air, Mr Obi Mbanuzuo.
Speaking after the decoration, Capt. Omole said that Dana Air believes in the transfer of management into the hands of Nigerians, stressing that they had earlier employed foreigners because they were already trained on the aircraft they have.
Noting that, they were only two captains when he joined Dana Air, Omole pointed out that the percentage of Nigerians working for Dana Air has risen from 20 per cent to 90 per cent over the years.
Omole who said that Dana Air has trained about 27 Nigerian pilots in 2017 alone stated that, “We have continued to train Nigerian pilots year-in-year-out. I congratulate the new pilots and I charge you to maintain the safety records Dana is known for.
Apart from male pilots, Omole said that Dana Air is also open to employing female pilots, stressing that females are more intellectual, more manageable and that they always abide by the rules.
“Female pilots are more manageable and you have less problems from them. They are not very many in the market, but the ones we had were very well trained but they have joined other airlines”, he said.
The DFO said that most of their pilots are trained in the International Aviation College, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) while others come from South Africa and USA.
He however, made it clear that pilot training doesn’t end because they need to go for proficiency checks every 6 months to be able to fly the plane legally and safely.
Emphasising that Dana Air prefers to train its own pilot, Omole said “What we do is to bring in the new graduates in our flying school because we can actually mold them into our culture. When we bring them from other airlines, there is always this culture clash.
“But when we bring them as First Officers, they seem to have more experiences flying”.
On bonding with its airline, Omole said “we used to do the bonding system before I started with Dana. We later found out that some don’t return to Nigeria after they have been trained. The procedure was for Dana to bond them but it has its challenges. We then put something in place. We ensure that a fraction of that money put in training will be taken from the pilots’ salary and within 18 months, they must have finished paying for it”.
In his remark, Obi said that the Dana Air training initiative is to be armed for future plans, adding that it takes an average of 4 sets of pilots to fly an aeroplane.
According to Obi, Dana is training the pilots for the future and also sees it as way of planning ahead. With 16 captains and about 17 pilots, the CEO added that one of its aircraft that are in Europe for checks and maintenance will soon arrive the country.