ICAO, ACI urge African nations to prioritise airport infrastructure development
Global air transport regulatory body, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Airport Council International (ACI) have urged Nigeria and other African countries to prioritise the development of aviation infrastructure, especially the airports, to attract growing traffic and reposition aviation as a mainstay of their economies.
The international bodies, at the opening of 59th Regional Conference and Exhibition of ACI-Africa Board and Committee meeting in Lagos yesterday, said the airports in Nigeria and several other African countries must shift from traditional to modern model of management to start building for the future and sustainability.
President of ICAO, Dr. Olumuyiwa Aliu, in his keynote address observed that African aviation remains one of the fastest growing in the world with no fewer than 6.8 million jobs and $72.5 million in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yearly, adding that aviation fosters economic growth with new opportunities in connectivity as enhanced by the recently-signed open skies and free trade treaties.
He said: “I will like to reiterate that this rapidly-expanding air traffic can only be sustained and optimised through the continued development and modernisation of local aviation infrastructure, particularly at airports.”
Besides, Secretary-General of ACI-International, Angela Gittens, stated that as the technological world is growing, so too are the expectations of customers in the delivery of safe, secured and comfortable airports around the world.
Gittens said Africa, “the sleeping giant”, must wake up to the infrastructural challenges, adding that the ACI-international will continue to support Nigeria in the quest to transform the local aviation sector.
Also, Guest of Honour at the conference and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to aviation development in Africa, as demonstrated in the aviation roadmap championed by the Ministry of State for Aviation.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the conference was apt, especially at a time Nigeria is mobilising resources and investors to transform its airports for efficient service delivery, with safety, comfort and security.