Pilots under the aegis of National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has condemned the management of Azman Air for planning to replace sacked Nigerian pilots with six expatriates.
The union representing pilots described the moves by the airline as an indication of its scorn for Nigerian laws, especially the expatriate quota laws and Executive Order No. 5 on local content.
NAAPE in a statement signed by its National President, Abednego Galadima, commended the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for its professional oversight role in the matter.
Galadima alleged that the airline violated the country’s expatriate quota law as well as the government’s Executive Order No 5.
The statement read in part, “We, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers have read with total dismay the unbelievable response of Azman Air to the legitimate and professional regulatory safety oversight function performed by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority on its operations.
“It is unfortunate that Azman Air chooses to view the action through parochial prism. The sentiments expressed by the airline are unnecessary and unhelpful to the critical safety issues raised by the authority, given the cited myriads of incontrovertible safety breaches.
“Again, to interpret the patriotic NCAA act of ensuring that Nigerian Pilots and Aircraft Maintenance Engineers are considered first in employment in line with expatriates quota laws and executive order No 5 as vindictive is to demonstrate crass disdain for our laws.”
Galadima said it was wrong for operators to blackmail their regulator or write their own regulation.
He however advised the airline to cooperate with the regulatory authority by opening up its books for full safety audit.
It commended the leadership of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, and passed a vote of confidence on his stewardship since he assumed office in February 2020.
The NCAA suspended the operations of all the Boeing 737 aircraft in the fleet of Azman Air Services Limited on March 15 following the airline’s involvement in three separate incidents over a period of six weeks.
The airline in a statement accused the regulatory body of witch-hunt.
However, NCAA General Manager, Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye, issued a statement documenting the ills of the airline.