Dele Ore: How Govt. sacked 47 pilots in one day at Nigeria Airways

Capt. Dele Ore, middle, Taiwo Adenekan, a former staff of Nigeria Airways, left and Segun Koiki, Chairman, League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents at the event of Tuesday

…says new national carrier cannot take-off unless..

Posted by Sade Williams

Capt Dele, the former Director of Operations, Nigeria Airways has recalled how the Federal government sacked 47 pilots in one day at the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways, saying it was a sad day in his lifetime.

He also said recalled that he was appointed and sacked as the Chief Pilot three times by different governments, saying that inconsistent government policy and lack of execution of good ones led to the eventual liquidation of the airline.

Speaking on Tuesday in Lagos at the pre-event press briefing of his latest book, ‘The Learned Commander,’ Ore revealed further that government policy and bad medical records of some of the pilots spurred the sack of 47 in one day.

According to him, the government as at that time had planned to reduce the workforce of the airline by 50 per cent, stressing that before the retrenchment, the airline had about 3,700 staff.

He maintained that the sack of the pilots was a step in the wrong direction, which had a negative effect on the entire performance of the airline. The sack he said, occurred in December 1988.

Ore, who became a pilot at the age of 21, recalled that he found it painful that 47 pilots were sacked under his watch in one day, stressing that most of those sacked were already captains who the Federal Government trained for at least nine years.

He said the 30-chapter book to be presented at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos encapsulates everything about his life from the cockpit to the court room as a legal practitioner.

The veteran, who participated actively in the Nigerian civil war when he was flying the wounded Biafran soldiers added that his last flight before retiring was as a result of  a mutiny that happened on his flight which he said he survived.

Speaking on plan by the Federal Government to float a new national carrier, Ore noted that appointing foreign technical advisers was a wrong step by Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of State for Aviation.

Prof. Anthony Killa, speaking at the event

 “You don’t need all these financial advisors, advisers, transaction advisers. Where is Dele Ore? Where is Taiwo Adenekan and the like?

“And when the thing is now coming so close to election, it is another agenda. I cannot fault the policy, the plan, but I have always said, may be that is the reason they don’t come to me, we are talking about a national carrier, but I said no, a flag carrier.”

He, however, said that Nigeria had always have good policy formulation, but lacked the political will to implement most of them, stressing that until the government deployed the political-will, the sector would continue to be stagnant.

He also insisted that government must settle all issues that emanated from the liquidation of Nigeria Airways before planning to float another one.

Ore also declined to comment on the Ethiopian Airlines crash, saying it would be too early e to comment on an accident the preliminary investigation was yet to be released to the public.

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