By LAWANI MIKAIRU & DANIEL ETEGHE
President of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Comrade David Isaac Balami has implored Nigerian travelling public not to panic and stop to fly saying that the country would soon get over the DANA crash.
Speaking during a press conference at the Secretariat of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Comrade Balami stressed that Nigerians should feel free to fly adding that although it appreciate the fears and anxiety of the public at the moment, the industry would soon pick up again.
According to him, “I want Nigerians to feel free to fly, it is not easy, it is not going to be easy but we are going to get over it, the government is interested, NCAA, they have been trying but they are going to do more, we will all sit up, it is not good to criticize us because, I can tell you that whether we like it or not, not because of the plane crash, we aviators, most of us have failed Nigerian”
“Most of us as airline operators have failed Nigerian, even in the way we treat passengers, somebody come to buy a ticket it is as if the airline is doing the passenger a favour, flight is been delayed, there is no communication, there are so many ways that the aviation sector has hurt Nigerian citizens but we want to assure them that because of our relationship with management of each airline and the government, I am talking about NAAPE as a body, we are going to do everything possible to make sure that Nigerians have confidence in the aviation sector once again and we are going to get there” he stressed.
Speaking on the purpose why the conference was organized, Comrade Balami said the purpose of the press conference was first of all to commiserate with Nigerians, the families of those that lost their loved ones, and the entire nation and also to let the press know that for the very first time NAAPE membership went on strike in Air Nigeria for up to a week to make the aviation sector better.
Comrade Balami further said Air Nigeria airline was not grounded due to safety reasons, but due to welfare package which ‘’ we believe that if we did not intervene or come into the whole issue, it could lead to incident or accident and we all know why there was a delay because the management of Air Nigeria did not agree with the association on the issues that were on ground and because of that, it took us a lot of time before the Chairman of Air Nigeria, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, addressed our members so the strike has been called off”