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Airport future in need of careful planning

Published 22/09/2016

Seemingly, part of the redevelopment of the City of Derry Airport will include aircraft maintenance.

If so, the airport's planning authority needs to look extremely closely at the availability of recognised/certificated aircraft maintenance engineers/technicians to staff the project, if it is how I understand the proposal.

If it plans to recruit and train people to recognised standards, the lead time will be measured in years - maybe close to four or five years.

Clearly, passenger-carrying civil aircraft must be maintained to critically high standards.

An alternative is to recruit skilled people from abroad/head-hunt, which is easier said than done and rather defeats the objective of creating jobs for indigenous people.

Such skilled people command high salaries, owing to the time and expense of training and high demand for their skills.

A spanner in the works here is that the Civil Aviation Authority may not accept their qualifications for the job anyhow.

It would not be prudent to spend large amounts of public money on this part of the proposed infrastructure without first carrying out a feasibility study into the complexities of this particular project.

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