Nigeria’s Aviation Woes | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigeria’s Aviation Woes

Posted: Jun 9, 2015 at 1:44 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Recently, the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, in a presentation on the performance of his ministry, lamented the situation of Nigeria’s Aviation industry. Of much concern to Chidoka was the fact that the ministry has no master plan for the industry.

We must thank the former minister for drawing attention to this salient issue in the country’s aviation industry. Certainly there is no other time than now for a master plan that would move the sector forward.

For more than 70 years when a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot landed safely in Kano, a lot has happened in the industry with regards to its growth and development. But sadly the current situation in the sector leave much to be desired. Indeed decades of decaying facilities at most Nigerian airports have led to large loss of revenue in the industry. Complaints are rife about non –installation of airfield lightings in many runways in the country’s airports.

Of course, this has led to many airlines not flying to most airports in the country after 6pm.And this has dramatically reduced the revenue base of these airlines as well as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN. It is estimated that domestic airlines lose about N4 billion yearly as a result of reduced airline operations. Only recently the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, said it had provided the country’s airports with “66 CALKIT brand of emergency airfield and additional two-approach lights”. But in a country not short of resources, we think NAMA could still acquire more standard airfield lighting equipment for safety of aircrafts, airport users and passengers.

There is also the lack of efficient terminal radar coverage in the country. Over the years, stakeholders have observed that NAMA needs to be assisted by the Federal Government to meet the challenges of providing the country with terminal radar coverage. We believe that this observation is correct and the new government needs to give this serious attention. Obviously doing so would improve air safety and also make the Nigerian’s airspace totally covered.

We equally believe that the airport-remodeling project, which seemed to have been abandoned by the immediate past Aviation Minister, needs to be resuscitated. Indeed the seeming abandonment of the project, which was scheduled for December 2014,raises some questions on the issue of continuity of good programmes embarked on by successive governments in Nigeria. Industry analysts posit that besides bringing the Nigerian airports to modern standards, it is expected to boost the much-needed revenue of FAAN.

Overall, this Newspaper believes that this critical sector of the economy needs to be handled by the new Federal Government with deft insight, as the industry constitutes a big player in the growth and development of Nigeria’s economy.