Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has charged students of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria in Kaduna State, to seek further knowledge that would make Nigeria an intellectual hub for technology and growth.
He gave this admonition on Monday while taking delivery of a Diamond DA42NG Trainer Aircraft from Interjet Nigeria Limited in Zaria.
Sirika, himself a former pilot, challenged the students to emulate Austria, the home country of the manufacturers of the aircraft, Diamond Aircraft Industries, saying that although Austria is not a large country yet it has a stable economy as a result of its knowledge based economy.
“If everyone of you can acquire and utilise technology then use it for Nigeria, it would sell more than oil. Knowledge is infinite that cannot be exhausted; it makes our lives easier and more comfortable to live happily,” the Minister said.
The Aviation minister expressed confidence in the management of the college and pledged the support of the Federal Government for the refleeting exercise saying it could not be faulted.
In his remarks, CEO of Interjet Nigeria Ltd, Seun Peters described the handing over as a milestone in the development of air transport industry in Nigeria.
He stated that the re-fleeting exercise was a major step on the need to enhance the capacity of the aviation college to achieve efficiency and save costs while at the same time boost airpower capability.
Peters said the aircrafts are one of the safest and most durable in the world that come with advanced avionics and sophisticated Austro engines which run on JET-A1 instead of aviation gasoline.
He lauded the efforts by the Federal Government towards equipping the college for professionalism which in turn would translate to safety and economic addition to the nation’s growth.
“Undoubtedly, this is a bold move to reposition NCAT into a highly professional and disciplined aviation college by making it a driving force through capacity building initiative for effectiveness and efficiency,” he said.
Peters commended the Buhari-led Federal Government for its commitment to reclaim aviation leadership for Nigeria in Africa and striving to guarantee safety of air travellers through local training of world-class professionals.
Earlier, while welcoming guests at the ceremony, Rector of the institution, Capt. Abdulsalami Mohammed said the delivery of Diamond Aircraft DA42NG was a great achievement for the college.
He said although NCAT currently had 29 trainer aircraft in its fleet, which include TB9, Trinidad TB20GT and Beech Baron 58, they are old quite expensive to maintain.
Mohammed said NCAT would take delivery of additional 19 new trainer aircraft from the total 20 slated for the refleeting scheme of the current government.
Among the other aircrafts to be delivered are four more multi engine DA42NG and 15 single DA-40 trainers.
Underscoring the importance of the new addition, the NCAT Rector said, “These new trainer aircraft would significantly improve our flight training experience. And from the angle of cost efficiency, our analysis shows they will significantly reduce our operating cost, especially in the area of maintenance and fuelling.
“They are also equipped with glass cockpit and Garmon 1000, which will make it easier for our graduating pilots to transit to new generation commercial aircraft,” Mohammed said.
Diamond DA42NG is manufactured with composite materials making it lighter to cover longer mileage and with limited fuel consumption.
According to Wikipedia, Diamond DA42 is a four seat, twin engine, propeller-driven airplane developed and manufactured by Diamond Aircraft Industries, Austria.