Lagos — Former Nigeria Airways pilot, Captain Tito Omaghomi, has said that concerned stakeholders in the aviation industry had seen the June 3 air crash involving Dana Airline coming because cutting corners was now the order of the day in the industry.
Speaking with a team of Vanguard editors, Captain Omaghomi, who has 35 years flying experience, described the Dana air accident as unnecessary and uncalled for.
He said: "We saw it coming. I remember giving a warning here some weeks ago before the Dana accident, that our airspace is no longer safe because people are now cutting corners in aviation and we have been saying this but nobody cared to listen.
"Aviation is not the place to give jobs to the boys, it is not a place where you must operate quota system. If all the best hands we can find come from the smallest village in Nigeria, they should be put there."
He maintained that the best safety device in the aviation sector was to have well maintained aircraft and well trained crew and asked why presidential aircraft do not have accident.
According to him, "presidential aircraft are well maintained and they have well-trained crew. Why can't we transfer that maintenance culture of the presidential fleet to the commercial planes?"
Faulting President Goodluck Jonathan's statement that those who are found to be responsible for the crash would be punished, Captain Omaghomi said: "Air accident is not investigated because they want to punish anybody because the engineer and all those who cleared the plane to fly will cover their tracks. Investigation is carried out to determine the cause in order to prevent future air mishap."
On the panel set up by the Federal Government to probe the incident, he wondered what kind of report the panel would come up with where members of the panel were either staff of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, or ADC Airline that had not paid compensation to the victims of its air crash some years ago.
He also said the international community would not accord any recognition to the report of the panel because only Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, was recognised all over the world to investigate any air accident
He dismissed the argument that the age of the aircraft determines its safety in the sky saying age has nothing to do with planes. He explained that DC 3 planes which were used during the war are still being used in the U S. adding that what is important is to have new engines in the plane.