The importance of safety to the growth and success of an airline lies partly in the fact that a single accident comes with huge negative consequences. Besides, it takes much effort and most times, a long time to restore a tarnished safety record for an involved airline.
Considering the results of Flight Safety Foundation’s research, which indicates that a very high percentage of air accidents have been traced to human factors, airlines are expected to deliberately take concrete measures aimed at avoiding human-factor motivated incidents and accidents. Some aviation stakeholders in Nigeria spoke to Albinuschiedu.com on how poor staff welfare, including delay in payment of salaries by airlines can influence air safety.
“When payment of salaries are delayed, it has safety implications especially for those who are directly involved like pilots, engineers, dispatchers, etc”, says Engr. K. Ajibade of Airworthiness Standards Directorate, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
“We cannot shy away from it. Delaying payment of salaries by airlines has serious implications on safety. Look at the new scheduled local airlines in Nigeria. About two of them already have economic challenges which can contribute to non-payment of staff salaries at the detriment of safety”, opines Olu Ohunayo, Manager, Zenith Travels Limited.
One of the crew members who survived the Associated Airline’s air crash of October 3, 2013, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Samson says the airline owed her two months salary before the accident, even though it was later paid while she was on her hospital bed, critically ill.
There is a stakeholder consensus that the NCAA needs to give more attention to economic regulation of airlines, which captures the issue of non-payment or delays in airline salaries.
Engr. Ajibade however explains that the NCAA is already taking action concerning the issue by constantly engaging the airlines and threatening to sanction them. He says the NCAA is seriously concerned about the economic challenges facing some local airlines as the regulator is equally interested in the growth of the airlines.