Transport Minister Blade Nzimande has made a call to airline companies to focus on transforming their entities as to benefit  disadvantaged rural communities. Nzimande was addressing the international civil aviation day celebration held in Mbombela, Mpumalanga.

The annual event is initiated by the United Nation (UN) and is aimed at raising awareness regarding the importance of civil aviation. Learners from various Mpumalanga schools learned more about aviation career skills at the international Aviation day held at the Nelspruit Old airport outside Mbombela.

Nzimande has raised concerns about the fact that the aviation sector still excludes those from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Some of the skills are very expensive to acquire. Like for instance today your first 18 months training as a pilot can guarantee you are not going spend not less than R2 million.

“I don’t know how many universities we can send students with that amount, and many of our people who come from poor families do not have that amount. So that is why it is still largely you have pilots from the white community.  We have asked the entities that are in our sector like your ASCA, Civil Aviation Authority and air transport to work towards starting a state owned aviation academy.”

Despite the exclusivity of this sector, Nzimande has however encouraged learners to enroll in the career of aviation because there are a lot of opportunities available.

Nzimande has urged airlines to give back to poor communities to assist learners who may have in interest in these fields.