Paying pilots by number of flights dangerous – NAAPE

Paying pilots by number of flights dangerous – NAAPE
Capt. Musa Nuhu

The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers has urged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to put an end to the sector payment methodology adopted by some airlines and aircraft operators.

It said the sector payment to pilots which was calculated based on the number of successful flights a pilot performed on a daily basis has been perceived to have grave safety implications.

NAAPE disclosed this in a communique issued on Saturday night to mark the end of its National Delegates Conference held in Abuja.

The Communique read in part, “Several airlines and aircraft operators are in the habit of paying their pilots based on the sector payment methodology.

“Sector payment to pilots, which is calculated based on the number of successful flights a pilot performs on a daily basis, has been perceived to have very grave safety implications.

“For the purpose of earning more money, pilots could be negatively induced to attempt flying when an aircraft is unserviceable, when they are not medically fit to fly, when they are under intense pressure, when there are unfavourable weather conditions that may endanger flight, and to fly beyond the maximum hours stipulated by Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations”

In the interest of safety, NAAPE, advised the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to put adequate measures in place to stop sector payment of pilots by airlines and other aircraft operators.

According to it, there are reports that several aircraft operators do not have sufficient number of qualified and experienced technical personnel to operate and maintain their aircraft fleets.

Consequently, the available technical personnel are over-worked, with the safety implication that several errors arising from fatigue could set in.

Reiterating its advice to the NCAA, it was stated that there was a need for the NCAA to intensify its surveillance on operators to ensure that airlines and aircraft operators employed and retained sufficient numbers of qualified pilots and engineers to operate and maintain their aircraft fleets without compromising safety.

Highlighting the increase in bird strikes in Nigeria, the association said it had been observed from recent happenings that incidents of bird strikes within the vicinity of airports had continued to increase.

The communique said, “Bird strikes pose serious threats to aircraft as they can lead to serious structural damage to aircraft components and it often happens during critical phases of flight such as take-off and landing.

“This problem has also increased the running-costs of airlines and aircraft operators as huge sums of money are often expended in order to rectify these defects.”

It charged the NCAA and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria to work in reviewing the practice of cutting grasses in the places where birds were most likely to be attracted.

Other issues identified in the communique included the poor remuneration of aviation safety inspectors.

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