President Buhari transformed Aviation sector- APC Group

By Aanya Igomu, Abuja 

Nigeria’s Aviation sector under President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has experienced a transformation in terms of safety, infrastructure and economic viability.

A tink tank group in Nigeria’s governing party, the All Progressives Congress, APC Legacy Awareness and Campaign group said this in a press statement signed by its leaders; the APC national youths leader, Ismael Ahmed, Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Lukman, a former APC National Publicity Secretary Mr. Lanre Issa-Onilu and a presidential media aide Tolu Ogunlesi.

The group said the Buhari led administration launched its Aviation Roadmap in May 2016 and has been focused on implementing the Roadmap.

While highlighting the major achievements, the APC group said that 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.

It said the AIB was 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.

According to the group, the government has made major strides in infrastructure.

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.
“The Concession process for the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt International Airports – the four main International Airports in the country – is ongoing, with completion of the process scheduled for 2022,” the group said.

It also noted that a significant portion of the investment into the Aviation Sector has been focused on resolving issues and bridging gaps inherited from previous Administrations such as payment of pensions.

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. 
“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” APC Legacy group said.

It noted that the new Private Sector led National Carrier may begin work in the third quarter of 2022.

New private-sector-led National Carrier, the MInister of Aviation has given assurance that the establishment process is still on course, with a target commencement date for operations in Q3 2022. In May 2021, President Buhari approved the designation of the 4 major International Airports in the country as Special Economic Zones. The procurement processes for the establishment of an Aviation Leasing Company, a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Center, and an Aerospace University are also all ongoing,” he stated.

To mitigate the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the sector, the government in 2020, released the sum of 5 billion Naira in bailout funds, which was shared amongst airlines, ground handling companies, travel agencies, flight catering services operators, and other stakeholders.

Lateefah Ibrahim

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