- Chairman of West Link Airlines, Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia, highlights the polarization of the Nigerian aviation industry, where non-technical personnel dominate over professionals.
- Mshelia warns about the poor management of the sector, emphasizing the potential economic and safety challenges it may pose.
- He calls for a limited percentage of support staff and criticizes the current situation in Nigeria, where the industry is dominated by non-professionals, leading to increased costs for flying and the issue of trapped funds faced by foreign airlines.
Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia, Chairman of West Link Airlines, expressed concern over the polarization of the Nigerian aviation industry, with non-technical personnel overshadowing professionals in the sector.
Speaking with Nairametrics in Lagos on Friday, Mshelia emphasized that this imbalance in the workforce is leading to detrimental consequences for the industry. He urged for immediate action to rectify the situation.
Mshelia argued that the sector should consist of only 10 percent support staff and also lamented the current scenario in Nigeria where the reverse is the case, with an excessive presence of non-professionals.
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The Chairman further explained that this polarization, caused by the dominance of non-technical personnel, is exacerbating the cost of flying, particularly for foreign airlines. These airlines are burdened with various levies and charges imposed by the country, leading to increased ticket prices. He said:
- Aviation is not a Father Christmas business. Until we really take the bull by the horns and begin to run aviation the way we are supposed to, we may not get it right. It shouldn’t be just because ‘I am a House of Representatives Member, Senator or a Governor, I should give my brother or sister a job in aviation.’ No! Aviation is for trained professionals and is supported by about 10 per cent support staff.
- “I want to say it again. Let the whole world hear it. We have not managed the manpower in aviation properly. We are where we are because we have refused to listen to voices like mine, telling us that it is only people who have business in aviation that should be there. All these 40,000 employees in aviation are not going to help us.
- “Today, we have to pay these 40,000 employees and it is the airlines and support services like handling companies that have to generate this money from people flying into Nigeria. That’s why we are buying tickets higher than anywhere else because if I am flying into your country and I have to pay so much to fly in and out, I will amortise my expenditure to come.”
Besides, he regretted the trapped funds crisis in the country. According to him, the inability of the foreign airlines to repatriate their funds out of many countries was a global challenge, but said it was more pronounced in Nigeria.
He explained that the crisis continued in Nigeria because those at the helm of authority especially in the aviation and financial sectors failed to adhere to the various advises offered them by professionals in the sector.
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