A former Director of Flight Operations of the defunct Nigeria Airways, Capt. Dele Ore, has reflected on his sojourn in the airline, recalling how 47 pilots were sacked in one day.
He also recalled that he was fired three times and reinstated until he became the Chief Pilot and eventually the Director of Flight Operations of the once blossoming airline which was liquidated in 2005 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Ore, popularly known as Veteran in aviation, reminisced on his days in the airline while briefing newsmen on the launch of his autobiography titled, “The Learned Commander” slated for launch next month.
The sack of the 47 pilots in December 1988, it was learnt, was an order from the Presidency for the management of the airline to cut its staff strength by 50 per cent.
Ore, who became a pilot at the age of 21, recalled that he found it painful that 47 pilots were sacked under his watch in one day, adding that it was the saddest day of his life as most of the pilots were already captains.
According to him, he was saddened that a captain would be so unceremoniously dismissed because it took a pilot about nine years to become a captain.
He said the 30-chapter book to be presented at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos encapsulated everything about his life from the cockpit to the court room as a legal practitioner.
Ore, who participated actively in the Nigerian civil war when he was flying wounded soldiers, added that his last flight before retiring was “a mutiny” but that he survived by the grace of God Almighty.
Speaking on the plan by the Federal Government to float a new national carrier, Ore noted that appointing foreign technical advisers was not necessary.
He said: “You don’t need all these financial advisors, advisers, transaction advisers. Where is Dele Ore? Where is Taiwo Adenekan and the like?
“And when the thing is now coming so close to election, it is another agenda. I cannot fault the policy, or the plan but I have always said, may be that is the reason why they don’t come to me. We are talking about a national carrier but I said no, a flag carrier”.