The Managing Director and chief executive of West Link Airlines, Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia, has attributed joblessness among Nigerian pilots either to a disagreement in the salary structure or the fact that some pilots would not want to fly certain aircraft thus limiting their chances of being employed.
Speaking in a recent interview, Mshelia, who is also the chief executive of Mish Aviation, said: “If you say most Nigerian airlines do not employ Nigerian pilots, it could be that the employer and the pilot do not agree on salary and conditions. I however doubt that most Nigerian airlines refuse to employ crew without a cogent reason.
“Nigerian crew, I presume, would be cheaper in the long run no matter what. I also know that some pilots would exercise their right of choice and select the type of planes they would want to fly, thereby limiting their chances to get a job and gradually develop their career.
“We most also not jump to conclusions on this issue as we always do with anything aviation. Some pilots choose where to work even when there are jobs in lesser paying or smaller airplanes than they would want to fly or their friends are flying. There are very many factors that create joblessness for pilots, especially from my experience since I started to manage operations over the years. The accusation could also be true.”
He said pilots should be hired based on qualification, training and fleet adding that the airline sub-sector “is heavily regulated and so there are laid down regulations for almost every stratum.”
For a pilot to fly an aircraft, Mshelia said such a person “should not just appear as a pilot but must have the appropriate license and class rating as well as an endorsement of type qualification and nationality.”
“Every employer must employ pilots appropriately qualified and trained for the fleet it operates. There are many factors which qualify a pilot to be employed on a particular airplane, for example, appropriate license. This means the pilot must have the appropriate category and class rating and then the endorsement of type qualification and nationality of the license among other requirements.
“So if the pilot is appropriately licensed and qualified, but the nationality and registration of the aircraft is different from that of his/her license, then automatically that pilot is not employable on that aircraft even though it may be domiciled in Nigeria. He will have to get approval by the state of registry after certain procedures,” said Mshelia.
He said it is not wrong to have a foreign-registered aircraft operate in the country but stressed that the owner should comply with procedures and regulations of the country the aircraft will operate.