Captain Dele Ore, a former Director of Operations with Nigeria Airways, said that the sack of 47 pilots in one day by the Federal Government in the defunct national airline was one of his saddest moments in the service.
He disclosed also that he was appointed and sacked as the Chief Pilot in the former national carrier thrice by different governments, saying that inconsistency in policy formulation and execution led to the eventual death of the airline.
Speaking in Lagos at the pre-event press briefing of his latest book, ‘The Learned Commander,’ Ore explained that government policy and bad health of some of the pilots cumulated in the sack of 47 in one day.
According to him, the government as a policy then, had wanted 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.
Ore who participated actively in the Nigerian civil war when he was flying the wounded Biafran soldiers added that his last flight before retiring was “a mutiny,” but he survived it by the grace of God.
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.
He said, “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.
Ore also declined to comment on the Ethiopian Airlines crash, saying it would be too immature to comment on an accident the preliminary investigation was yet to be released to the public.