Posted by Sade Williams
The Society of Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (SLAMEN) has called on the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to use its economic audit to determine the continued financial capability of an organisation that owes workers’ salaries for two month at a stretch as it constitutes a very serious safety issue.
This is just as the body appealed to NCAA to increase its enforcement of the provision of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs.) and to carry out more surveillance as regards Expatriate Quota to prevent abuse.
The body decried a situation where foreign engineers are employed to perform aircraft maintenance while local engineers are out of work or are not trained to carry out the duty, adding that this is good for the Nigerian aviation industry.
The President of SLAMEN, Engr. Chukwuka Iloeje said this at the 1st Quarterly General Meeting /General Election held at 631 Air Force Base, Murtala Muhammed Airport,Ikeja Lagos at the weekend.
“We request that the authority uses its economic audit to determine the continued financial capability of an organization that does not pay salaries for two months at a stretch – a serious safety issue,” he said.
He also requested the NCAA to open a channel for anonymous reporting of violations to avoid fears of reporting or victimisation of reporters, adding that necessary and appropriate control should be taken on these issues.
Iloeje urged employers of Aircraft Maintenance Engineers such as Airlines and Maintain Repair and Overhaul (MROs) to make it a priority to train and use Nigerian licenced engineers for their various purposes rather than giving prominence to employing foreign personnel.
This, he posited employers should see as their own positive contribution towards developing Nigeria’s economy
The President while appreciating employers for providing Aircraft Maintenance Engineers(AMEs) the opportunity to practice their profession and also meet their societal obligations, he however appealed to them to continue to give due recognition to the importance of the profession as provided for in the Nig. CARs and NCAA-approved company manuals.
According to him, “Provide the required tools, spares, and equipment. Maintain good working conditions for licensed engineers to perform optimally. Pay engineers good salaries that are commensurate with the very high responsibility bestowed on us by our duty. Our families need to be very comfortable for us to always be in the right frame of mind to perform safely and efficiently.”
On the profession, Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, the SLAMEN President, informed that it is recognised worldwide, by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to airlines and passengers as very critical to aviation.
He argued that after the manufacturer of aircraft, the Aircraft Maintenance Engineers are next in the ladder
In his words, “We occupy the next step in the next ladder of safety. A pilot cannot embark on a flight without the Certificate of Release to Service being issued by an appropriately rated Licensed Engineer nor will a passenger board an aircraft if he knows that it is not well maintained and hence not airworthy. We are therefore required to be people of high integrity, reliable sense of purpose, and excellent performers of our duty.”
He advised members to perform their functions excellently and not be found wanting, urging them to be conversant with the provisions of Nig. CARs, relevant Aircraft Maintenance Manuals and other requirements.
“Perform our duties to always give confidence to the occupants of the aircraft. Let us work hard to help our companies minimize delays and flight cancellations, improve financial standing and grow the businesses,” he advised.
Speaking on whether is a union; Iloeje said that SLAMEN is not a union, adding that prior to the birth of SLAMEN, the National Association of Airline Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) had effectively carried out both professional and trade union functions but that when the liquidated Nigeria Airways started sliding towards being moribund under the military government, those roles could not be effectively performed as the military perceived NAAPE as just an opposing trade union.
He added that at that point it became imperative to separate both roles, hence the need for SLAMEN.
The high point of the event was the induction of SLAMEN registered members that were represented by seven of its members.