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Pilot group call attention of airline owners to welfare of pilots and crew

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Representative of the Flight Crew Association of Nigeria (FCAN), Captain Roland Robert wants airline owners to do more protecting the interest of pilots and other employees in the sector saying the decision by some carriers not to pay either full or part salaries during the lockdown is not healthy for the survival of such professionals.

Pilots and cabin crew


Speaking in an aviation webinar, Robert said pilots and other flight crew professionals in the aviation sector continue to experience human treatment by owners of airlines, who have either laid them off; declared redundancies or ask them to work from home with ridiculous fractions of their remuneration paid.


He said such an arrangement does not guarantee confidence for the aviation professionals, as it could make them see themselves as unwanted in the air travel value chain.


FCAN, which he described as the grouping of pilots in Nigeria and overseas consistently, seeks ways to improve the lot of the industry.


Increasingly, Roland said the body is getting worried over some developments in the sector, adding that airlines should consider as priority the issue of medical check up for pilots, which they have to undergo once or twice in a year.


He said : “Basically, we will have to undergo a medical check once a year or twice a year, airlines should look into that one so that pilots can go for their medical checks for those who have expired.  While we pilots sit down at home, it takes a toll on the individual and then when you hear some certain companies trying to laid off then panic sets in and often times we have pilots not doing anything and any other job aside their professional call which is
flying so, they have all their attention on studying on preparedness for flight and all of that, they have no other sources of income.”


He said situations that could trigger anxiety for flight crew personnel in the industry is not healthy, stressing that airline owners to take steps that would guarantee job security.


The FCAN president said : “Certainly, when we have situations like this panic sets in, so companies should actually make sure that they reassure them of their job as well so that they know that we need you and we want you. We expect companies will not be able to pay 100 percent  of salaries  since the lock down started due to prevailing conditions.”

Adding that, “but some companies are living up to expectations  since the announcement of the COVID-19 in March. Some paid 100 per cent salaries  in March, some paid only 60 sixty , thereafter some paid nothing and so for the past two months most pilots in Nigeria have not been paid a dime except  AeroContractors.  I think Airk also paid a certain percentage less than 50 per cent  to staff that is for health and occupational safety.”


“For  job security, airlines have to ensure the welfare of their staff, because  it is not profitable for you to lay off your good staff, granted when the airlines resume flights, there will be staggered operations, some basic salaries to ensure their job security.”
He said the peculiarities of the aviation sector, scarcely creates room for working remotely because the personnel deal with the equipment.”


Captain Robert said, “As regards remote working, it is almost impossible right now to work from home because we have machines that we operate and these are technical machines and what we can do as regards to that one, is to probably to find some online training that keeps the crew up to date and keep them recurrent with the machine system, with the operational system, working all of this together may become a full solution for the pilots.”


He expressed dismay over the parlous handling of flight crew welfare by some airlines saying : “Yes most of the airlines in Nigeria have not paid salaries and I can list some of them, Azman for example, no salary since March.


“Max Air did not even get any letter or notification, Arik Air for one from the month of March afterward pay somewhat about 20 per cent or there about, Air Peace in March paid somewhat about 70 per cent  of their salary to them even though they worked full month and there after they have received zero salary then, Aerocontractors was about a 100 per cent  in March they receive but thereafter, the salary was scaled down to about 50 per cent  or less. Other companies who paid in the region of 70 per cent  are airlines that are involved in the oil and gas, Bristow for one is one of those able airlines.”


On measures to keep flight crew going ahead of flight resumption and as to what airlines can do right after the COVID-19, Captain Robert harped training, that they can include pilots in  other areas of aviation, to keep them engaged to make them current and secondly, there should be a payment for each pilot at least basic salary at the most.

“Most pilots do not even have any sources of income. Pilots should not go home with zero salary.”

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