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Local airlines raise the stakes in corporate social responsibility

At a time Foreign airlines are shying away from putting something back into the country for the huge gains they made off the system, some local airlines have begun setting the pace in corporate social responsibility (CSR).

While some, such as Arik Air, have invested so much in training nof aviation personnel, in the face of the dearth of skilled manpower in the aviation sector, others are putting money in education and development of the health sector. It should be recalled that Arik recently invested millions of Naira sponsorship for training of about 20 pilots at Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.

Conservative estimate for training of  a pilot at the aviation college is in excess of N7.5 million.  The latest to have given teeth to its social responsibility is new start up airline, Dana Air, which started operations barely a year ago.  Consequently, the new airline is partnering with the Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria to raise funds for the National Sickle Cell Centre, Lagos in support of its activities, having taken cognisance of the need to assist in the fight against sickel cell anaemia, which has become a major killer disease among youths.  In this regard, the airline has launched an in-flight envelope donation scheme to encourage its passengers to make contributions towards the activities of the centre..
Chairman of the Dana Group, Mr. Ramesh Hathiramani, said the partnership with the Foundation is the airline’s way of not only encouraging it in the war against sickel cell anaemia, but also empowering it with the necessary finances to prosecute the war. “With over 40 million people as healthy carriers of the sickle cell gene, and over 150, 000 babies born each year with sickle cell anaemia, Nigeria has the largest burden of the disorder, anywhere in the world.
“This is why Dana Air, through the Sri Sai Vandana Foundation, is pleased to partner with the Sickle Cell Foundation to generate funds for the Centre towards alleviating the burden of the disorder in the country,” Hathiramani said.
Describing how the in-flight envelope donation scheme will work, Mr. Hathiramani said that envelopes with basic information on the sickle cell disorder will be made available on all Dana Air flights, and in-flight announcements will be made by the cabin crew inviting passengers to support the Foundation by making donations to the Centre.  “We believe that the contributions of our passengers will go a long way towards funding some of the projects of the Centre and ensuring that all persons affected by the disorder can live normal, pain-free lives,” he added.
Chairman of the Foundation, Professor Olu Akinyanju, thanked the management of Dana Air for collaborating with the Foundation to raise funds for the Sickle Cell Centre, saying “where disorders are common, special dedicated centres are required to ensure adequate services for treatment and prevention.” He also called on individuals and corporate bodies to emulate Dana Air and the Sri Sai Vandana Foundation by supporting the activities of the centre.
The Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria was established in November 1994, as a non-governmental and non-profit making organization dedicated to the proper care and control of sickle cell disorder in Nigeria. The National Sickle Cell Centre is strategically located opposite the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.


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