Nigeria’s first commercial pilot to fly Boeing 747, Captain Harrison Adekunle Kuti, is dead. Kuti died after a brief illness on March 28, 2020. He was born in 1942.
Captain Kuti trained as a pilot and attended Acme School of Aeronautics, Texas, Houston and Burnside-Ott Aviation School, Miami, Florida. His professional and occupational interest spanned aviation, dredging and marine engineering and shipping marine operations.
Kuti joined the Nigerian Airways Corporation in 1964, where he worked for about 20 years before retiring in 1983 as a Senior Training Captain. In 1984, he was appointed Managing Director, Zenen Verstoep Company, a dredging, civil and marine engineering company, where he led a team of experts to execute various government projects, including the dredging of Lekki axis.
Until his death, Captain Kuti was the President, Hak Air Limited, an affiliate of GMF, Asia and also Director, Ghana – UK Tours Limited, an airline company operating the Accra-London route. He was a member of the London Chamber of Commerce.
A man of distinguished attainments in many fields, his meritorious distinction as a pioneering commercial pilot, who first flew Boeing 747 to Nigeria is forever established in aviation records.
He was an exuberant soul, vibrant, restless, determined, resolved on adventurous largeness; a man with a good heart, free spirit, un-detained by malice, friendly to all, given to easy laughter and instinctive camaraderie. He loved life to the fullest.
Speaking glowingly of Kuti as genius by his friends, who include: Chief Olabode George, General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, Mr. M.S. Smith and Gbadebo Dallass, Captain Kuti was described as a “shining go-getter, grasping with the challenges of life with firm, determined steadfastness.
“He was unruffled by petty things. His focus was always on the big picture of existence. He served as best as he could. He has fulfilled his course.”