Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), announced significant initiatives as part of the Tinubu administration’s roadmap for the aviation industry. These initiatives include the development of an aerotropolis or airport city, the establishment of an aircraft repair facility, and the creation of an aircraft leasing company. Keyamo emphasized that these projects are central to the administration’s strategy for the aviation sector and are aimed at fostering its growth and development.
Speaking at the 7th Aviation Summit held in Abuja, Keyamo also issued an apology to foreign airlines affected by funds trapped in Nigeria for nearly two years. He expressed disappointment at the lack of world-class Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facilities in West African countries but pledged that Nigeria would take the lead in this regard.
Furthermore, Capt. Musa Nuhu, Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), raised concerns about the proliferation of unviable airports, including those established by state governments, which have become a burden on aviation agencies. He highlighted the strain this places on the Civil Aviation Authority, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
Nuhu emphasized that not every state should build an airport and expressed worry about the viability of state-owned airports, given the complexity of the airspace. He noted that economic activities should determine the need for airports, and ill-advised policies have led to the establishment of airports that cannot meet basic requirements for safe flights.
The Director-General mentioned that many state governments have had to hand over their airports to FAAN due to their inability to maintain and sustain them. He suggested that unviable state-owned airports should consider the model followed by Asaba Airport, which was successfully concessioned to the private sector and equipped with necessary facilities.
Nuhu also pointed out the lack of maintenance system calibration in many airports, an issue raised during the recent International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP).
In conclusion, the federal government’s aviation roadmap aims to enhance the sector’s infrastructure and address challenges in the aviation industry, while also emphasizing the need for careful consideration and viability assessments when establishing airports.