Establishment of National carrier will stop reliance on crude oil – FG
Despite the myriad of opposition to the formation of a new national carrier for Nigeria by aviation industry stakeholders, the federal government has said its establishment would stop the country’s over-reliance on crude oil and boost productivity in the country.
The minister of aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, stated this over the weekend in his keynote address at the 6th edition of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria (AFARN) Aviation Safety Summit held in Lagos.
The theme of the summit was: ‘Aviation Safety in a Global Distressed Economy: The Place of Nigeria.’
According to Sirika, the government was making an effort to move the country away from a mono-cultural economy and create jobs for the teeming populace.
Apart from the establishment of a national carrier for the country, which would tackle the challenges, Sirika said the government was also developing aerotropolis, cargo agro-allied airport terminals, airports, and concession of airports, while also encouraging the establishment of an independent maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility that will serve the maintenance demand of aircraft in the country and the entire West African region.
He, however, said the MRO would be done through the public-private partnership (PPP) model, using the build, operate and transfer (BOT) model.
Sirika who was represented at the occasion by the commissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau – Nigeria (AIB-N), Engr. Akin Olateru, regretted the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation industry global, including Nigeria, but stressed that the sector was recovering fast.
Besides, Sirika reiterated the quest of the federal government in the area of infrastructural development, saying that the recent commissioning of the Anambra Cargo Airport and the approval given to the Lagos State government for the construction of Lekki Airport in the state pointed to this direction.
He said all these would ensure that service delivery was guaranteed to travellers, business organisations and the public at all times.
- He added: “Let me at this point thank the Lagos State governor, His Excellency, Mr. Babajide Sanwo–Olu for his interest in this critical sector, which, to me is exciting and encouraging. I wish to also state here that it is not yet time to celebrate; rather, it is time for more collective efforts because that is the only way we can overcome some of the challenges facing the industry, which this government is determined to tackle, top of which is the issue of safety and security.
- “As you all know, the changing nature of aviation practice demands constant review. Government is therefore very determined to ensure that air transportation in the country is safe, secure and enjoyable, and create the right atmosphere for the business of aviation to thrive.
- “I call on all stakeholders to join hands with the federal government in its quest to build a vibrant aviation industry that everyone would be proud of. It is my belief that it is only when all hands are on deck that we will be able to have the industry of our dreams.”
Besides, the managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, said the country has fully recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic era.
- Yadudu, who was the guest speaker at the event, said Nigeria was already at 111% of the post-Covid-19 era.
- According to him, globally, it is only Colombia, with 120% that is performing higher than the country.
- He explained that what gets aviation going is not the number of personnel, but the compliance to requirements, safety procedures, standard operating procedures (SOPs).
- “As an airline, you must do your job rightly without being monitored by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). All stakeholders must imbibe this culture of safety in their day-to-day operations.”
Yadudu emphasized that FAAN, as the airport operator, has put in place several measures to forestall any decline in aviation safety standards, which may result in declining revenue.
Among the safety measures include the recertification of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Also, he mentioned the certification of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt, and Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu as some of the steps taken to ensure total safety in the system.
He further said that FAAN was installing runway 18L/36R airfield lighting system at the Lagos Airport, while the domestication of human capacity development and recurring expenses like training are also given attention by the agency.