Cameroon-based founder of the young African Aviation Professionals Association (YAAPA), Fadimatou Noutchemo Simo has said that the African Union can do something to address the prevailing aviation manpower issues in the continent.
Speaking at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 75TH Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Seoul, Korea after receiving award of the ‘High Flyer’ category of the inaugural IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards sponsored by qatar airways, Simo said “because of the development of aviation in different countries, we found some countries that have saturation of manpower and we found others that do not have manpower. We have been pleading and engaging with African Union to sit with the Heads of States or to implement also, an exceptional work permit for aviation professionals so that this can enable the countries with saturated professionals to free work in other countries to sustain growth. I take example in Nigeria. You will say, ‘we are lacking skilled workers’, but in Nigeria, you still find engineers and pilots who do not have opportunities to fly. I remember in one conference, I reached out to the airlines saying “you ask for minimum of flying hours which Africans who have succeeded to get their licenses don’t immediately have. So, why don’t you give the opportunity to these professionals who have been able to sacrifice to train, to be able to help?
In a nutshell, Africa has all the resources. We just need to appropriately do the repartitioning to implement the strategy because we have the schools. We have the professionals. We have the need; and if we give the opportunity to the skilled manpower to be employed in Africa, we are going to have succession plan implemented,” said Simo.
She futher revealed that YAAPA had been making underground studies and exchange with young aviation professionals in Africa. YAAPA has representatives in the 54 states in Africa and is a group of volunteers passionate about aviation who want to build bridges, exchange about the best practices across the continent and the infrastructures available to train the generation of African aviation professionals as well as promote tourism within African countries.