Dana Air trains 27 pilots, decorates five in Lagos
The airline, at a brief ceremony held at the Murtala Muhammed Airport II (MMA2) in Lagos recently, decorated as Captain, Kalu Sylvester and Ibrahim Kazeem, while the trio of Ilesanmi Ayotunde, Afolabi Damilola and Lawal Wahab were decorated as First Officers.
Director of Flight Operations, Captain Segun Omole, said the newly decorated pilots are like fresh university graduates that are eager to contribute their quota for the growth of the industry.
According to him, “This is just the beginning, the tenets of our operations is to fly the aircraft safely and legally. If it is not legal then it is not safe and if it is not safe it is not legal.
“When our aircraft first came, we had to use a foreign crew because not many Nigerians were trained on the MD-83s. We knew that we would have to transit to local crew and from 20 per cent Nigerian crew working in Dana, we can now boast of a 90 per cent crew. There are some risks in training but Dana continues to train. We still have some more pilots in training and maybe in a few months from now we may have more decorations,” Omole said.
On how many the airline has trained thus far and how the pilots will impact on the airline’s operations vis-a-vis fleet size, both captain Omole and Accountable Officer, Obi Mbanuzor made separate inputs.
On trained pilots, Omole said: “We trained 27 Nigerian pilots in 2017 and we have decided to continue to bring in the new graduates into Dana Air because if you catch them young you can mould them in your culture.
“We are not saying we do not hire captains, we do but when we train them they imbibe our culture from scratch while hired captains come from a different environment and bring a culture clash. We are trying to endure all our captains come in as First Officers with the opportunity to grow as captains,” he said.
Mbanuzor explained that it takes four sets of crew to operate an aircraft and they have four for now. “It means we need 16 crew to fly the aircraft plus we have one aircraft that has just undergone a major check and we still have two pilots there to test-fly the aircraft.