The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has urged the public and private sectors to invest more in human capacity to address shortage of professionals.
The Director-General of the apex regulatory body, Capt, Muktar Usman, said the industry urgently needed a large pool of sound professionals in all areas and departments of the local sector.
Indeed, attracting the best trained aviators is a challenge globally. This is for reason not unconnected with the high cost of routine training amidst consistent expansion of the air travel business.
It is estimated that in the next 20 years, airlines will have to add 25,000 new aircraft to the current 17,000-strong commercial fleet. By 2026, the global industry will need 480,000 new technicians to maintain these aircraft and over 350,000 pilots to fly them. A lot more would be needed in other aviation-support services.
Speaking at a forum in Lagos, yesterday, Usman said producing these professionals required a robust training and manpower development programme by both the government and the private sector.
He observed that in most developing countries, including Nigeria, the private sector was not strong enough to bear alone the burden of such manpower development programme.
For those seeking to build careers in aviation, Usman stressed that the future was promising despite the teething challenges, especially in developing economies.
Such an aspirant would be challenged at both the personal and professional levels, but the reward is enormous.
“Those of us developing economies have the strange advantage of learning from the more advanced and developed aviation industries. We cannot only avoid some mistakes of the past, but also expedite the development of both in the human and material factors in our aviation industry,” Usman said.
The DG explained that the requirements into the industry are not only in science and technology, but also in the arts and humanities, adding that the traditional science subjects of math, physics, chemistry, geography would lead aspirants to their goal in the sector.
The organiser of the forum, Joy Ogbebo, said the meeting was to mentor and offer career guidance to youths, to introduce aspiring aviators to their career choice, and help them identify the key skills required.