The ongoing plans by the Federal government to concession the four major international airports in the country has been described as a major step by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to enhance the development of the country’s aviation sector
The Federal government has commenced the process for the concession of the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt International Airports – with completion of the process scheduled for 2022.
Commending the federal government’s move, an APC group under the aegis of APC Legacy Awareness and Campaign noted that the process which it said is part of the administration’s Aviation Road map, which was launched in May 2016, is geared towards complete transformation of the sector, in terms of safety, infrastructure and economic viability.
The APC Legacy Awareness and Campaign, in a statement issued Wednesday by their coordinators, which included the Youth representative at the party’s National Caretaker and Extra Ordinary Convention Planning Committee, Ismail Ahmed, former National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh Lukman and Tolu Ogunlesi, listed major highlights of the Roadmap to include the Establishment of a National Carrier, Development of Agro-Allied/Cargo Terminals, Concessioning of the Major International Airports, Establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Center, Establishment of an Aviation Leasing Company, Development of Aerotropolis (Airport Cities), Establishment of an Aerospace University, Designation of 4 International Airports as Special Economic Zones, Upgrade of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT).
“Since the launching of the Aviation Roadmap, the Ministry of Aviation has focused on implemention. In terms of infrastructure, the new Terminals of the Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano International Airports, inherited from the previous administration, have been completed, while the new Lagos Terminal is very close to completion. Brand new Runways have been constructed at the Abuja and Enugu International Airports, in 2017 and 2020, respectively.
“More than a dozen airports around the country have had Low Level Windshear Alert Systems (LLWAS) installed, to improve flight safety. Investigations revealed that the Sosoliso and ADC plane crashes of 2005 and 2006 respectively were caused by the absence of LLWAS in the airports.
The Lagos and Abuja Airports have had the Category 3 Instrument Landing System (ILS) installed – which provides the capability for landing safely and accurately in conditions of near-zero visibility.
Another 3 Nigerian Airports have been scheduled to benefit this year. “A significant portion of the investment into the Aviation Sector has been focused on resolving issues and bridging gaps inherited from previous Administrations. One example is the payment of pensions owed to staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways.
President Buhari approved that the backlog of almost twenty years be cleared, and has released funds to this effect. The reconstruction of the Runways in Abuja and Enugu were also long overdue, but neglected by previous governments. Investments that should have been made over the decades are now finally being made.”
The group noted further that “under President Buhari’s watch, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) has acquired several new training aircraft, and has been recognised globally by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Among other things the NCAT now has a brand new Boeing 737 Full Flight Simulator, as well as a fully-automated Fire and Smoke Aircraft Training Simulator, which now means that Nigerian personnel no longer have to be sent to Cameroon for training on tackling aircraft fires and smoke.
“The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) now has a world-class Flight Safety Laboratory, which means that Airplane Recorders, popularly known as “Black Box”, no longer have to be sent abroad for analysis. Furthermore, the AIB is now actively providing technical support and services to other African countries, including assisting Sierra Leone to set up its own Accident Investigation Agency, in 2021.