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The aeronautics sector undergoing a revolution under the Buhari administration – groupe APC

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The aeronautics sector undergoing a revolution under the Buhari administration – groupe APC

By Emmanuel Mogbede

The All Progressives Congress (APC) advocacy and campaign group says Nigeria’s aviation industry is undergoing a revolution under the administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Tolu Ogunlesi, a spokesperson for the group said in a statement Wednesday in Abuja.

Ogunlesi added that the revolution was more important in unprecedented investments in infrastructure and capacity building in the sector.

He noted that other areas that received attention and investment under the current administration were roads, railways and seaports.

According to him, the administration launched in May 2016 its aeronautical roadmap, with the aim of transforming the sector, in terms of safety, infrastructure and economic viability.

Ogunlesi said the roadmap included the creation of a national carrier, the development of agro-allied and freight terminals.

He also listed the concession of major international airports and the establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) among others.

“The Nigerian aviation industry is undergoing a revolution under the administration headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Since the launch of the Aviation Roadmap, the Ministry of Aviation has focused on implementation.

“In terms of infrastructure, the new terminals at the international airports of Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano, inherited from the previous administration, were completed.

“The new Lagos terminal is nearing completion, brand new runways have been built at Abuja and Enugu international airports in 2017 and 2020 respectively,” he said.

Ogunlesi added that more than a dozen airports across the country have installed low-level wind shear warning systems (LLWAS) to improve flight safety.

He said the airports in Lagos and Abuja had been equipped with Category Three Instrument Landing System (ILS) by the administration.

He further explained that the ILS made it possible to land safely and accurately in near zero visibility conditions.

According to him, three other airports should have such a facility, before the end of 2021.

“A significant portion of the investment in the aviation sector has been devoted to solving problems and filling gaps left over from previous administrations.

“An example is the payment of pensions owed to the staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways. Buhari had approved that the backlog of nearly 20 years be cleared, ”he said.

Ogunlesi noted that under Buhari’s leadership, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) had acquired several new trainer planes and had been recognized globally by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

He said that among other things, NCAT received an all-new Boeing 737 full-flight simulator, as well as a fully automated fire and smoke aircraft training simulator.

This, he added, meant that Nigerian personnel no longer needed to be sent to Cameroon for training in fighting fires and smoke from aircraft.

He added that the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) had been provided with a world-class flight safety laboratory.

“This means that aircraft recorders, commonly referred to as Black Boxes, no longer have to be sent overseas for analysis.

“In addition, AIB is now actively providing technical support and services to other African countries, including helping Sierra Leone to establish its own accident investigation agency, in 2021.

“Regarding the new national carrier led by the private sector, the Minister of Aviation assured that the creation process is still underway, with a target date for the start of operations in March 2022.

“To mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector, the federal government released in 2020 the sum of 5 billion naira in rescue funds,” he said.

He added that the money was shared among airlines, ground handling companies, travel agencies, airline catering operators and other stakeholders. (NAA)

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