By Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, yesterday rolled out a comprehensive and strategic framework of government’s aviation master plan, which she stated was developed after a wide consultation with stakeholders in the industry with the aim of addressing all the challenges confronting the sector.
The implementation of the master plan according to her, would involve developing the requisite capacity, manpower training of staff of all its six agencies to meet the needs of the 21st century and changing the business model into self sustaining private sector participation in line with international best practice. The minister made the disclosure in Abuja, at an interactive forum with a wide spectrum of industry stakeholders.
She said the ministry consulted widely for about eight months before the development of the master plan: “We have also developed a master plan as well as the implementation framework in confronting the sector’s numerous challenges with a view to providing a safe, secure, profitable and self sustaining world class industry with a distinct airport experience for flyers.”
While promising to make the country a hub of aviation activities in line with international standards, she added a privately driven involvement would reduce financial burden on government.
Admitting that some of the nations’ airports were highly underutilised, she stated that 90 percent of the N225 billion revenue earned in 2011 was from the Lagos and Abuja airports.
She said the total amount of ticket sale in the same year amounted to N225 billion while 14.6 million passengers were recorded across the airports. According to her, the under utilisation of some facilities in the nation’s airports constitute a huge potential loss.
Oduah added that the ministry’s long term plan for the industry was to build a world class provider of safe and comfortable air transport sector that is self sustaining and pivotal to the country’s socio economic growth.
She stated that government had concluded arrangements to commence the operation of a national flag carrier. According to her, the national carrier which would be pride of the nation would also
compete effectively with foreign airlines.
She said: “In 2011, British Airways alone generated a total of N34 billion from operating in Nigeria. Oduah added that discriminatory pricing by foreign airlines will no longer be allowed. She said government is developing a new template for all Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA), adding that all future negotiations will be done to ensure that Nigeria obtains maximum benefit from the deal. “Flexibility clauses will be included to facilitate and protect national interest.” She hinted. According to her, government is reviewing the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority NCAA’s 2006 Act to enhance its institutional capacity to effectively regulate the sector.
According to the Minister the new Master Plan will would involve designation of the Economic Free Zones and agro allied focused airports based on the country’s local endowment and competitive advantage. She said creating economic free zones is one of the strategies for rapid growth, inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), employment generation and maximal utilization of airport infrastructure. Odua admitted that it is regrettable that of the N300 billion Africa generated from agro allied and cargo terminals, Nigeria’s market share was zero. She promised that with the necessary infrastructural facilities in place, Nigeria will generate over N120 billion which is 40 per cent of the entire market in new master plan roll out.
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