The Federal Government has disclosed that the planned establishment of a national carrier, Nigeria Air is on course. According to the Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika the transaction advisers have concluded their research and are set to submit the outcome of their research to the Federal Government.
The Minister assured that the country’s Nigeria Air project will be realized.
He also said budgetary provision have been made by the Federal Government for the construction of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
Sirika revealed this on Thursday in Abuja during a meeting with executive officers of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.
He said: “Regarding the second runway for Abuja airport and national carrier, it is becoming practically the major questions that everyone ask me whenever they see me.
“Every Nigerian is asking for the national carrier and every professional is asking for the second runway.
“Well, to tell you, the second runway project is in the budget and it will be procured by God’s grace. The national carrier is in the pipeline and in the next one hour, I will be meeting with the transaction advisers. They are in town and they have concluded their baseline studies and we are moving to the next stage. So that is also on course.”
Sirika also urged airlines to take advantage of gadgets installed at the airport and improve their communications systems for optimal functionality.
On requests for an upgrade of communication systems at control towers at various airports across the country, the minister said: “On the issue of communication, I want to say that what we have in the country is being improved upon and not only that it is being improved, very soon all of that will be history.
“A lot have been approved to improve the communications and radar capability of our country’s air space and I am sure that we have improved on our performance based navigation system.
“However, I will just say that airlines need to up their equipment and personnel. There’s no point you put a CAT-3 system and their equipment can’t function with it or when the airlines’ pilots are not trained for it.”
Also speaking in a meeting with Airline Operators of Nigeria, the minister ranked the aviation sector as the second fastest growing sector in Nigeria.
He said: “From the figures released by the Ministry of Finance yesterday (Wednesday), I want to tell you that aviation is the second fastest growing industry in the country.
“In the last quarter, we were next to Water and Sanitation, which grew by about 15 per cent or so, and aviation grew by 12.1 per cent.
“This shows that we are doing very well. We have also improved on passenger traffic. When we came we were doing a little over 14 million, that’s about three years ago, today we are doing 18 million and that’s tremendous growth.”