Pilots, engineers lament poor condition of service after Dana Air crash
As investigation continues on the crashed Dana Air flight 992, pilots and engineers working with domestic operators in the country have described the operating environment as most stressful. The professionals said their challenges range from poor conditions of service, insufficient tools to work with, to racial discrimination, as some airline owners prefer to make expatriates with little experience their bosses, even when it is clear that local hands have been proven to be more competent.
The President of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Mr. Isaac Balami, at a briefing yesterday said, the union in the past fought various airlines management on the need to improve the working condition of pilots and engineers, saying it takes a happy workforce to sustain and grow the operations of any establishment.
He added that the union was forced to ground the operations of Air Nigeria when engineers and pilots working in the company complained of poor welfare package, a development he said threatens air safety.
“For the first time, our members in Air Nigeria went on strike. It was not for safety reasons but in agitation for improved welfare package. An unhappy engineer or a pilot can carelessly do things that can endanger safety because his/her mind is not settled. Imagine an engineer living in Sango Ota in Ogun State, because he cannot afford a house near the airport.
Assuming he has a 6.00am flight, such a man needs to be on duty two hours before then. By the time he jumps from one bus to the other to get to the office, he’s already tired and you can imagine the risk of leaving home by 3.30a.m. or so.
“Assuming he’s well paid, he’ll be living very close to the airport and pass through less stress. At the same time, he is facing apathy in the office because, an expatriate he is probably better than is housed in GRA Ikeja or a hotel and far better paid. Is such a person not a danger to safety?” he asked.