The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has disclosed that the sector will contribute $1.7 billion to the nation’s economy and provide direct and indirect job opportunities to citizens in the country.
Sirika stated this at the third edition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration scorecard series (2015-2023) in Abuja
He disclosed that the aviation roadmaps would be completed by 2023. “By April 2023, all the road maps outlined for the sector by Sirika, would have been completed. The attainment level is currently at 90 per cent. Upon the full implementation of the roadmap, it is estimated that 72,300 jobs (direct 9,100 and indirect 63,200) will be created.
“The greatest legacy of the Buhari administration in the aviation sector is the strengthening of the institutions running civil aviation in Nigeria to run on the standard of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and in line with global best practices.
“Ethiopian Airlines emerged as the preferred bidder for Nigeria Air because it’s the most qualified in the transparent bidding process.
Partnering with an African airline is in line with African Union’s Agenda 2063, especially the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), aimed at creating a single unified air transport market in Africa, liberalising civil aviation and driving the continent’s economic integration agenda.
“The construction of a Boeing 737 simulator building and installation of Boeing 737NG full-flight simulators are some of the achievements made.
“The Nigerian aviation sector is the second most recovered in the industry, following the development, from scratch, of the protocols for the safe, secure and orderly restart of the aviation industry after COVID-19.
“The focus of the Ministry of Aviation under President Buhari is how safe, secure, and efficient a passenger can depart from point ‘A’ and land in point ‘B’.
“Nigeria has achieved a total radio coverage of its entire airspace. Nigeria has now developed the capacity to decode and decipher the ‘Black Box’ of aircrafts in the event of any air crash,” Sirika disclosed.
He hailed the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as a huge contributor to the safety and security of the air transport system.
He singled out the Port Harcourt Airport, which a section of the international media once called the “worst in the world” for its transformation and how it has become “the best under President Buhari” and how the nation’s airports are being certified for the first time in her history, under the Buhari administration.
“Capacity building has been ramped up, with the Buhari administration increasing the budget for training from $500,000 when the administration came into office to $8 million.”
“A Boeing 737 simulator has been bought for $21 million to further build the capacity of pilots. Also acquired is an automated fire simulator.
“Five international airports (Abuja, Kano, Enugu, Lagos and Port Harcourt) have been designated as ‘special economic zones’ nd because of the progress made in the sector, Nigeria has been re-elected as a Part II member of the ICAO Council.”
He mentioned the upgrade of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) to a multi-modal accident investigation agency now known as the National Transport Accident Investigation Board (NTAIB). Also mentioned was the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA)’s provision of surveillance services to check flight delays and reduce fuel consumption.
“An aviation leasing company, which would be private sector-driven, will be established to address the challenges of limited access to capital and high cost of funds. The ALC will provide leasing opportunities for Nigerian and African airlines to boost fleet size and alleviate the problem of aircraft leasing and high insurance premium charges.
“The development of Nigeria’s major commercial airports and surrounding communities into efficient, profitable and self-sustaining commercial hubs through increased private sector participation and foreign direct investment (FDI) will create jobs and grow the local industry.
“The upgrade of facilities at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology led to its designation by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as a regional training centre of excellence,” Sirika added.
Sirika further noted that Full Business Case (FBC) was completed and a certificate of compliance issued by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) was achieved by the sector.
“A recent aviation sector study for Nigeria by International Air Transportation Association (IATA) in June 2020 showcases the significant contribution of air transportation to the national economy, through providing 241,000 jobs (direct and indirect) and a contribution of $1.7 billion to the National economy.
“With the successful implementation of the roadmap projects, our overall goal is to grow the aviation sector’s contribution from the current 0.6 per cent to 5 per cent (approximately $14.166 billion).
“Furthermore, we have successfully debunked the notion that aviation doubles every 15 years. Currently in Nigeria, the number of airports, including those currently being developed, has doubled, the passenger number has quadrupled, other entrepreneurship (including catering and ground handling) has blossomed and the number of airlines and jobs has doubled.”