Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, on Wednesday, told the Federal Executive Council (FEC), that efforts at establishing a national carrier will come to fruition by 2021.
Sirika, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting presided over President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the ministry submitted its scorecard to FEC.
He said the report showed the resilience of civil aviation in the face of crisis, adding that it will also survive the shock created by the novel Coronavirus.
Sirika said the report also showed that the implementation of the aviation roadmap has done a great deal of job for civil aviation.
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According to him, civil aviation grew in the last quarter of 2019 by 15 per cent, which makes it the second fastest growing sector.
“The mandate that we were given in 2019, was to identify all stalled projects and ensure completion, which we have done; about 40 of them; and you remember in the last dispensation, we identified 157 out of them; we have completed 134.
“This is 100 per cent and this time, we identified 40; and we are at the various stages of finishing them.
“Second, is to complete construction works at airports and we told council that by the fourth quarter of 2021, we will finish construction work at the airports, all of the four airports.
“And then to implement effective maintenance and optimal use of airport facilities, that is being done; we are drawing up maintenance programme and other projects around these airports.
“We were also asked to ensure the establishment of national carrier; it is at very advanced stage; the outline business case is completed; the socio-economic impact of having a carrier has been added to outline business case.
“It will be coming for approval; then by 2021 quarter three, we will have the national carrier established; and the planes will be flying domestically.
“After certifying all of the requirements, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and so on, we will begin international operations.’’
He further said that through collaboration with the private sector, the aviation industry has shown that it has the capacity to create 241, 000 jobs in the country from civil aviation.
The minister said the sector contributes a lot through tourism.
“We assumed 1000 dollar expenditure by tourist intenders in Nigeria; and from our data, we have at least, 1 million tourists coming into Nigeria.
“If you multiply 1 million by 1000, it is 1 billion dollars from tourist activities within the aviation sector.
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“Now, if you go to agriculture and other sectors where aviation plays a huge role, you can see how we can impact on the economy,” he added.
According to him, Kano airport will be opened next month, while efforts are being made to tackle the challenge at the hangars in Lagos airport.
He said there is also plan for a third terminal in Lagos, aside the one being constructed at the domestic wing.