Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Rabiu Yadudu has stressed that losing $2.5 billion (about N1.25 trillion) in MRO investments to neighbouring countries was a blow below the belt for Nigeria, as it shows the country’s potentials and capacity being grossly underutilized.
This is just as Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has described the aviation sector in Nigeria as a goldmine, with lots of potentials waiting to be harnessed.
The Minister made this known in his good will message at the ongoing FAAN National Aviation Conference with the theme: “Advancing the Frontiers of Possibilities for Safe, Secure and Profitable Air Transport” where he lauded FAAN for putting together a great assembly of aviation professionals to discuss challenges militating against the efficiency of the sector, as well as proffering lasting solutions to the challenges.
According to him, core variables driving air transport globally is safety and security thus stressing that the industry must continue to discuss issues that bother on these variables while ensuring the industry operates profitably, so as to be able to achieve efficiency and sustainability.
On the part of Government, he said, “our doors are open, and we are always willing and ready to discuss business, and partner with investors to bring the desired growth and development to the industry. I therefore implore well-meaning Nigerians and foreign investors alike to come on board and take advantage of these opportunities, with limitless potential for huge returns on investments.”
Speaking on the capital flight through a lack of an MRO in the country, the FAAN helmsman argued that with such investment as $2.5 billion in Nigeria, vast employment opportunities would have been created, as revenue generated would have spiked as well as increasing manpower as more technical personnel would be trained.
Yadudu said, “as we commence the process of rebounding, it is imperative to come together to identify and analyse the positives from these challenges, with a view to consolidating on them and fostering sustainable development in our industry. This is the motive for inviting all stakeholders – airlines, handling companies, aviation agencies, concessionaires, security agencies, etc to discuss issues, share ideas, and proffer solutions to the myriad of challenges facing our industry.
“Furthermore, we have assembled a crop of seasoned faculty who have distinguished themselves globally in various fields of aviation: from regulation, operation, financing, among other critical areas, to bring these issues to the fore, and also proffer lasting solutions. At this juncture, let me state that our potentials and capacity in the global air transport industry is grossly underutilized. If we are desirous of attaining the status of a major player in the global aviation sphere, this is the time to reposition and move the industry forward.
“The focus is on Nigeria because we have the largest fleet of aircraft within the sub-region. As at 2021, it was reported that Nigeria lost $2.5 billion (about N1.25 trillion) in MRO investments to neighbouring countries. Having such investments here would have created more employment opportunities for Nigerians, revenue generation and training of technical personnel for maintenance of aircraft.”
He canvassed a repositioning of aviation in the world’s most populous black nation stressing that if Nigeria is desirous of attaining the status of a major player in the global aviation sphere it needs to get its acts right and such is the reason why the country stakeholders and experts need to develop a workable plan of action that will make Nigeria aviation more robust.