No going back on Nigeria air to enhance competitiveness, says aviation minister
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has reiterated government’s commitment to the establishment of the National Air carrier to enhance the nation’s competitiveness in the Single African Air Transport Market (SATM) project and develop the nation into a regional hub for air transport.He said that the Federal Government would also pursue the implementation of other components of the Aviation Roadmap including the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities as the establishment of MROs would save the country a lot of foreign exchange that would otherwise be spent by airline operators sending their aircraft abroad for checks.
Sirika, who gave the assurance at a meeting with members of the Joint Aviation Unions Forum, an umbrella body of all unions in the aviation sector, in his office, commended the unions and staff for the warm welcome given to him on his reappointment, noting that he can only deliver to their expectation in an environment of industrial harmony.
He pledged to work with the unions in implementing the roadmap, which he said would go a long way in advancing the sector and positioning it to meet emerging challenges, while assuring them of continuous improvements to their welfare.
Sirika said: “I promise that there will be good understanding between us to drive the activities of our industry towards contributing more to national development. I will do everything reasonably possible to make the newly reestablished ministry live up to the expectations of all stakeholders in the sector…”
The Ministry, according to the Minister, will continue to emphasize on the safety and security of air travelers, saying the recent acquisition of a calibration aircraft for the country and the closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for rehabilitation were some of the steps being taken to guarantee the safety of the nation’s airspace.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Forum and National President of Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), Mr Ilitrus Ahmadu thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring continuity in the aviation sector by not only reappointing Hadi Sirika but restoring the full-fledged status of the Ministry.
He charged the Minister to pick up full throttle from where he stopped, especially in the implementation of the Aviation roadmap, one of which major aspects is the establishment of a national carrier.
According to him, the establishment of the airline will not only guarantee more employment for pilots, cabin crew, engineers and other aviation professionals, but also enhance the nation’s international image, being a major player in the aviation world.
The Union leader also enumerated other areas which required the Minister’s attention to include ensuring the appointment of qualified people into the boards of aviation agencies in line with their respective Acts, approval of new Conditions of Service for agencies that are yet to have theirs, better funding for capacity building and the revival of the annual Aviation Week.
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