80 percent of international airlines operating in Africa are non-African – Minister


Abiodun OBA      |       

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed that 80 per cent of international airlines that have dominated Africa are non-African.

Sirika stated this while making clarifications on the intended national carrier during a chat with State House correspondents after the FEC meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said that there was need to understand the standpoint of the Ministry of Aviation on the issue.
Sirika said that the carrier that he intended to bring was such a carrier that would support national economy with 450 million dollar GDP for 200million people, very equipped to compete favourably.
“In view of the AU Agenda 2063, the Single African Aviation Market, we thought that there will be an airline that will take up that challenge; that will take advantage of it and be able to provide services to our people.

“Nigeria, being the first country to kick-start the declaration in 1999, to establish a one common market in Africa; at the time, we wanted to take advantage of the Nigeria Airways which was the strongest airline on the continent, and we thought that we could take advantage of that and it would pay Nigeria very well.

“Tables turned, decisions were reversed and now, Nigeria was unlucky to have an airline that can participate in that manner.

The minister said that he was not implying that existing private airlines would go down when a national carrier came on board as it was the ministry’s duty to support business in the sector.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday has approved N2.97 billion for fencing and perimeter road for the Port- Harcourt International Airport.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika who briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting disclosed, “The second memorandum is for the fencing and perimeter road for the Port Harcourt International Airport.

“This project was abandoned since 2011, and of course, in response to the philosophy of President Muhammadu Buhari to complete all abandoned projects and ongoing projects, this safety, security critical item, we felt needs to be completed.

“Variation was brought to council; it has been approved earlier; the variation is in the sum of N271.8 million; this of course jacked up the contract sum to N2.97 billion and the new completion period of six months.

“The perimeter fence is understood I hope; and the then road is the road that goes around the perimeter to allow for surveillance.

“It will allow for monitoring of the fence integrity and also for additional security; to be able to go round the circumference of the airport for improved security and safety operations.’’
Sirika had earlier said that the council made an approval of N574.3 million for insurance and special risk for the assets in Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.

He said it included the personnel that would be operating the machines.
“This includes of course VAT of five per cent to cover from June 10, 2019 to 2022.
“Yearly payments will be made in accordance with the extant laws and regulations,’’ he concluded.

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