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Former Airplane Cleaner Becomes Pilot After 24 Years




  • Mohammed Abubakar opted to work as a cleaner after he failed to get admitted to college.
  • He got promoted to cabin crew and flight attendant after impressing his superiors with his hard work.
  • He enrolled in pilot school using his savings from his flight attendant job.

Can someone gathering trash inside a plane become a pilot? For Mohammed Abubakar, it was all just a matter of hard work and determination.

Mohammed came from a small town in Nigeria. After high school, he enrolled at Kaduna Polytechnic. However, he failed to submit his requirements in time, so the school did not grant him admission.

Rather than staying at home and moping about his situation, Mohammed got a job as an airport cleaner at Kabo Air. He was only getting paid 200 Nigerian Naira ($0.50) per day.

“Many believed that I wouldn’t take the job because of the meager money involved. I was later employed as ground staff with the airline. Through my service in the company, I worked in almost all the units, except security. That helped me a lot in the aviation sector,” Mohammed said.

During this stint, he worked very hard and caught the admiration of his superiors. They offered him a job as a cabin crew member, which Mohammed gladly accepted.

Later on, Mohammed was hired as a flight attendant by Aero Contractors. With this upgrade came a huge salary resulting from the valuable input he gave to the company regarding its scheduled services.

This was already a huge step up from the former airport cleaner. Mohammed was not satisfied with this, however, despite his salary upgrade. He still wants to become a pilot. For him, it was not just about the money. He joined a contribution system with his colleagues and when he received his share of the cash, he used it to become what he truly wanted.

With support from his managing director, Mohammed enrolled for pilot training in Canada and eventually got his Private Pilot License. After going through several hurdles, he finally got his commercial pilot license. He joined Azman Air, a Nigerian company.

Now 24 years after he first worked to clean airplanes, Mohammed became a full-fledged pilot.

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