The Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria (NCAT), Capt. Abdulsalam Muhammed , disclosed that against popular opinion of the school being expensive, NCAT is the cheapest place to train anywhere due to the government subsidy.
The Rector who disclosed this in an interview during the International Civil Aviation Organization,World Aviation Forum (IWAF/3), in Abuja, said NCAT charge is about one third of what other schools charge for the same training, adding that the subsidy policy of the government is to make the training affordable to ordinary Nigerians.
In his words,” As regards to cost, NCAT is government owned, we get government support, and the school fees are subsidized. It may sound expensive but is the cheapest place that you can train anywhere because of government subsidy…We even buy aircraft fuel sometimes in US Dollars, so we are not over charging contrary to what people seem to think.”
He said that training a pilot is an expensive venture and the school fees at NCAT were maintained at about one third less than what other schools in the same category charge, even with the reduction in the value of and most expenditure like aircraft purchases, spare parts and sometimes aviation fuel are US Dollar dominated. He also said that it is better to terminate the training of a pilot at an early stage rather than spending so much money only to find out later that that trainee cannot meet up with the required license.
The quality of the NCAT was boosted recently by ICAO Certification as Regional Training Centre of Excellence. The certification process started in 2006 as members need meet certain criteria to be eligible. With the current certification, NCAT is positioned in West Africa and Africa as a rallying point for aviation training in air transport, navigation, facilitation, environment, safety and security. NCAT qualified instructors can also be sent to anywhere in the world to conduct training as this will attract international exposure.
One of the achievements this year is the acquisition of Boeing 737 Simulator. The choice of Boeing 737 is because it is the most commonly used aircraft by Nigerian airline, including the presidential air fleet. When installed by next year pilots in the Boeing 737 rating will trained in Nigeria and money will be saved for other activities.
The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, (formerly known as Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Center), was set up by Act. No 31 of 1964 (as amended), to conduct: Civil Aviation courses for use in flight training or airport operations & management as may be prescribed from time to time, Training of approved persons in the installation, maintenance and operation, as the case may be, of technical equipment, the use of which is calculated or likely to increase the margin of operational safety of civil aircraft and Training on equipment and necessary facilities for technical research or normal use.
NCAT has passed through several reforms over the years but the Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika has performed tremendously well to upgrade the institution to the ICAO standard.