Sirika at the aircraft inspection in Austria, said the huge investment were part of the efforts to catch up with evolving technology in line with the approved roadmap for development of the local sector.He recalled that similar effort lately earned Zaria the status of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Regional Training of Centre of Excellence.
Sirika added that the simulator would increase NCAT’s capability, save foreign exchange (forex) and reduce cost incurred by the airlines on training pilots. “A well-trained, proficient pilot is number one key to safety,” he said.
The Rector of the school, Capt. Mohammed Abdulsalami, recently hinted on the plan for the acquisition of more equipment, which will increase aircraft fleet and enhance training aptitude of the institution. An earlier plan to acquire 20 of such aircraft by the last administration had resulted in a row between the institution and the contractor, given the inability of the then government to pay as and when due.
The current rector and administration followed a different route of buying, but in phases.Abdulsalami said acquisition of more trainer aircraft would create a window for its young pilots to gain more flying hours and prepare them for the job market.
“The whole idea of getting more training aircraft is that it will greatly enhance our training capacity. By breaking down the aircraft orders into batches until the 20 target is achieved is part of strategy to equip the college for efficiency,” he said.”
The Rector added that NCAT recognised the capacity gap, which explains the acquisition of the B737NG simulator. “We envisaged that the B737 Classics are on their way out. That is why we decided to go for the NG. This project would have been completed a long time ago. The initial process was to site the simulator in Lagos, but when this administration came into power in 2015, the decision was changed to site it in Zaria, and there was no provision for the
building that will accommodate this simulator. We looked at the possibility of using existing structures, but they are not suitable.
“So, we now had to start afresh by getting consultants that will design the building. We had to go through full procurement process, and selecting contractors. We awarded that contract last year and the building as we speak is completed. That simulator we hope would be delivered to the college by March.
“When we have that simulator installed, we will be able to offer type-rating courses on that B737NG. Now, as part of our plans for the future, we also made provision for a second simulator.
“So, if you go to the building, you will see that we have two simulator bases. We intend to install a second simulator. We are watching the industry to see if the national carrier comes; the type of equipment they are going to use will now guide us on the type of simulator to install. Once we have the national carrier, NCAT will play a big role in training a lot of the personnel,” he said.