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FG restates commitment to reposition aviation industry

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika says concerted efforts are being made to reposition the aviation industry which has suffered great losses due to the many challenges that have emerged since Covid-19.

The Minister, who made the remarks at a safety summit organised by the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria (AFARN) in Lagos, said these efforts would help boost productivity, enhance competitiveness and create wealth while engendering economic growth for the nation.

Senator Sirika listed the efforts to include, the establishment of a national carrier, the development of airport cities (called aerotropolis), cargo agro-allied airport terminals and concession of airports.

The Minister, represented by the Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB-N), Akin Olateru, emphasised that more collaborative efforts were needed to overcome the challenges facing the industry, which the present government was determined to tackle.

Top on the list, he continued, are the issues of safety and security.

“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,” he stressed.

Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Rabiu Yadudu, in the theme paper entitled “Aviation Safety in a Global Distressed Economy: The Place of Nigeria”, said employee layoffs, increased operations and passenger movements, increased crime and rising oil prices were some of the impact of a distressed economy on aviation safety.

He identified safety and financial audits, certification and recertification of airports as some of the mitigating measures put in place to protect safety.

“Among these measures are, recertification of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, installation of runway 18L/36R lighting system at Murtala Mohammed airport, certification of MAKIA, domestication of human capacity development,” he enumerated.

Acting Managing Director, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mathew Pwajok said Nigeria’s airspace had been fortified to ensure safety with different navigation facilities installed.

“We went further to deploy the total radar coverage of Nigeria,” Mr Pwajok reported.

“We can now track aircraft over the entire airspace of Nigeria unlike before when air traffic controllers have to manually depend on pilot reports to control and ensure the safety of flight.”

President, AFARN, Kingsley Nwokoma called on stakeholders to join hands with the government to consolidate on the gains made in ensuring safety.

Highlights of the summit included the presentation of awards to the chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa as the Aviation personality of the year, 2022, Integrity award to the FAAN Aviation Security, induction of the heads of aviation agencies into the AFRAN Hall of Fame, as well as cheque donation to the Nkar orphanage, Gboko, Benue state.

Reporting by Nosa Aituamen; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor