Aminat Isiah, Abuja
The Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Capt. Abdulsalam Muhammed has disclosed that NCAT is the cheapest place to train as aviation specialist when compared to anywhere in the world due to the government subsidy.
The Rector who this in an interview with news men during the third International Civil Aviation Organization , World Aviation Forum in Abuja.
He noted said that NCAT charge is about one third of what other schools charge for the same training, adding that the subsidy policy of the government is to make the training affordable to ordinary Nigerians.
“It is very expensive to train pilots so if at the early stages it is discovered that a trainee pilot doesn’t have what it takes, it is better to terminate the training at an early stage so that he can go and do other things rather than let him spend so much money and then later down the line he loses his license or is not able to even get the license.
“In regards to cost, NCAT is government owned, we get government support so our courses and the school fees are subsidized. It may sound expensive but it is the cheapest place that you can train anywhere because of the government subsidy.
“What we charge is about one third of what other schools charge for the same training and this subsidy policy of the government is to make the training affordable to ordinary Nigerians so when you really look at it, it is not that expensive.” he said
He noted that NCAT in the last few years has continued to maintain it’s school fees irrespective of dollar denominated expenditure, and a fall in the naira.
“We buy aircraft and spare parts in US dollars and we even buy aircraft fuel sometimes in US dollars, so we are not over charging contrary to what people seem to think.”
With recieving of ICAO Certification as a regional Centre of Excellence by NCAT, Capt. Muhammed noted that NCAT will use its position as a regional Center of Excellence to promote the activities of African Training Organization in the west African sub region to promote aviation trainings.
“ICAO has a training unit called Global Aviation Training Office. They regulate and oversee aviation training in the world and you have to meet certain criteria before you are eligible to join this organization.
“NCAT started the process in 2006 and since then we kept metamorphosing because there are various stages. The regional Training Centre of Excellence was the pinnacle and certain things has to be done to be able to qualify for the next stage and one of the basic requirement is for ICAO to come with a check list and a team to assess your facilities to ensure that they meet minimum international standard.
“We had the audit carried out by ICAO, some gaps were identified and NCAT embarked on a programme to upgrade our facilities and standardize our class rooms as are the requirements which included having new class room furniture, installing modern equipment such as smart boards and projectors in all class rooms. In addition, in terms of academics, NCAT was expected to develop standard training packages as ICAO requirements and to achieve this status we have had to develop a total of 4standard training packages and the packages are available to ICAO members worldwide to conduct trainings and the attainment of the regional training centre of excellence opens a world of opportunities for NCAT as we can now develop training programmes in all the ICAO annexes that is in fields of air transport, navigation, facilitation, environment, safety and security. It also gives us the opportunity to send our qualified instructors any where in the world to go and conduct trainings. This also gives our instructors international exposure.” he said
He averred that NCAT has the highest number of qualified instructors that are certified by ICAO in the TIC. This is an achievement which we got for two consecutive years now so ICAO recognises NCAT leadership role in this area.
On Establishing another Training Organization for Aviation in Nigeria, Mohammed said there is no need to establish another training organization for aviation in Nigeria.
“As you know we have the international college in Ilorin that trains pilots, we have the school in Enugu that trains helicopter pilots, so I don’t think there is a need to introduce another training school. What we need to do is just to expand our training capabilities so that we can introduce more courses that are especially relevant to the airline industry so that they would not have to send their staff abroad for training.
“It is in recognition of this that the management of NCAT decided to acquire a Boeing 737 simulator. As you know there is a legal requirement of pilots of commercial aircrafts to undergo recurrent trainings every six months and that training is done in simulators and the practice up to date is for the pilots to go outside the country because we don’t have such simulators in Nigeria. So NCAT analyzed this and decided to install a Boeing 737 simulator in Zaria. The choice of the 737 is because it is the most commonly used aircraft by Nigerian airlines including the presidential air fleet so that is what informed the decision to purchase a Boeing 737 simulator and arrangements have gone very far, we ought to have that simulator installed in Zaria sometime next year. So when that is done, we will be able to give 737 type ratings so pilots will not have to go abroad to get trainings in the 737 and they can also do their recurrent trainings in Zaria, thereby saving our meagre foreign exchange and saving the airlines a lot of money.”
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