The Association of African Aviation Training Organisation (AATO) remains the umbrella body of all aviation training institutions in Africa with a motto, ‘committed to the provision and sustainability of Aviation training excellence in Africa’.
It has a strong vision to create safer African skies through high quality standardized aviation training and with an uncommon mission to promote harmonization and standardization of aviation training in Africa through co-operation, sharing of expertise, resources amongst members and other stakeholders.
AATO, just like her counterparts globally, had an interim council which was recently and properly re-constituted with men and women of proven integrity cum impeccable pedigree drawn from the aviation sector across Africa as members, of which Captain Mrs. Chinyere Kalu MFR, the Rector of Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, currently sits on the council board as the only Nigeria’s representative and the tenure is for a period of eight years.
Owing to the strong will of the duo of the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah and the indefatigable cum result-oriented Rector of NCAT, coupled with their avowed commitment and determination to turn around the Nigerian aviation industry as evidenced in the on-going re-modelling of over 22 airports across the country as well as the standardization of facilities and trainings at NCAT to world class, vis-à-vis the relative safety of Nigerian skies, led to the successful hosting of the AATO’s constitutive assembly at Abuja between 10th and 12th April, 2013 with a theme “Committed to the provision and sustainability of Aviation training excellence in Africa”. The conference, no doubt, was rated as the best, since the inception of the council, as major corporate entities in Nigeria actively participated.
Realizing the importance and the aptness of such epochal assembly, presentations were made by the Honourable Minister of Aviation, though in representation while the second speaker was Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji (OON), the head of the Civil Service of the Federation, who served as a guest of honour. In his words “the Afro-centric nature of AATO, being the voice and champion of the African training centres shows your commitment such that all your training centres comply and meet global best practices towards maintaining the highest ICAO standard in all their spheres of trainings”.
Still leveraging on the opportunity provided by the gathering, he appealed to all parliaments across Africa to quickly domesticate all ICAO laws for easy implementation and adherence.
In the same vein, Captain Mrs. Chinyere Kalu (MFR), being the host of the constitutive assembly pointed out that, the platform was for all aviation training institutions around the African continent to deliberate on issues of common goal. In her words, “AATO is indeed an idea whose time has come, given the plethora of urgent capacity needs in our fast growing aviation industry”. Her presentation further dwelt on the need for aviation training institutions to make use of scarce resources allocated to them for maximum result and that, there is a unanimity of agreement among training institutions to conserve huge capital flight that would have been expended son foreign trainings of our students and personnel.
It is therefore worthy of note to mention that, Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), under the visionary leadership of Captain Mrs. Chinyere Kalu (MFR), with the full support of the Minister of Aviation, the college is now resolutely poised and committed to being the vanguard for the enthronement of excellence in all facets of trainings and operations as the management of the college recently acquired a number of helicopters to diversify into helicopter pilot training. This development was a swift response to assuage the yearning needs of oil companies, research and rescue operators and other stakeholders in the industry.
Apart from the above-stated uncommon achievements of the Rector, the five schools in the college namely Flying, Air Traffic services/Communication, Aircraft maintenance, Aeronautical Telecommunication Engineering and Aviation management schools, have now been upgraded and standardized both in facility and personnel as the college can favourably compete with any aviation training school in the world.
This piece was the last report sent in by the late Tribune Associate Editor, Bankole Makinde, who died last week.