Results arising from economic indicators from the 2017 economic analyses show that the federal government has done much to improve the aviation sector of the economy writes ANTHONY AWUNOR
There were remarkable improvements in the aviation industry, despite challenges associated with lack of aviation fuel, economic recession and outright unavailability of foreign exchange to enable airline operators function optimally.
Since January 2017, events and activities in the nation’s aviation sector have shown significant improvement in the areas of infrastructure development, safety, security and manpower development. Some of the improvements were made in the following areas:
Repairs of Abuja Airport Runaway
The tenure of the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, introduced the concessioning of the four viable airports in the country. The targeted airports include: Abuja, Port Harcourt, Lagos and Kano. The concession proposal was, however, overtaken by flight diversion from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja to Kaduna International Airport, following the poor state of the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport that time.
On March 8, 2017, the federal government shut down NAIA for six weeks to give room for repairs on the runway, making Kaduna Airport the only alternative for Abuja flights. In what can be described as a landmark achievement in Nigeria’s aviation, the federal government through the Ministry of Aviation successfully re-opened the Abuja Airport, ahead of the April 19 deadline given by the government.
Airport Facility Upgrades
To improve airport services, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in 2017 stepped up developmental projects at most of the nation’s airports for better service delivery. The executive order issued at the early part of the year by the Presidency has helped activities on the Ease of Doing Business initiative at the airport, thereby reducing delays and fast-tracking departure formalities of arriving and departing passengers. Within the period under review, FAAN was also able to wipe away touts at the airports. Forex accessibility which used to be a major obstacle to airline operations seems to be available to them now at a considerable rate
MMA Aerodrome Certification
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on September 16, 2017 certified the FAAN as the certified aerodrome operator for the provision of required airport services, facilities, systems and equipment at Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, in line with international standards and recommended practices.
The certificate which was presented to the Managing Director/CEO of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, by the Director General of NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman, at the NCAA headquarters in Lagos attracted the presence of aviation stakeholders including agencies, directors, General Managers of aviation parastatals, management of MMA2, media amongst others.”
Abuja Airport Certification
In the year under review, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja was certified by the NCAA on September 18th, 2017.
With the certification, Mr Muhtar Usman, presented the certificate to Mr Saleh Dunoma, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in Abuja recently.
The certification is in line with requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 14, and part 12 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations on safety of air navigation. The issuance, however, means that the airport had met the International standards of the world body.
Recall that the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos was certified earlier, during which the completion of the certification of Abuja airport was pledged.
Implementation of Executive Order
The airport community was able to key into the Executive Order issued by the presidency in the year. With the compliance, business activities at the airport have become very easy through the “ease of doing business initiative “T
To finally make things work at the airport, FAAN had few months ago listed security agencies approved by the authority to interface with the passengers at the airport terminal.
According to FAAN, only the Nigerian Immigration Services NIS (Arrival & Departure); Nigerian Customs Service NCS (Arrival only), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA (Arrival & Departure); State Security Services, SSS; Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit, EODU, and Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services NAQS (Cargo Terminal Only) are authorised to interface with the passengers at the airport.
The Airports Authority also notified stakeholders including airlines, passengers and the general public that the above-mentioned agencies are the only security agencies approved to interface with the passengers at their terminal, a situation that has made passengers’ processing quicker and easier.
ICAO World Aviation Forum
For the first time in Africa, an international aviation forum organised by the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, was held in Nigeria.
The ICAO World Aviation Forum, organised by the ICAO took place from 20th to 22nd November 2017 at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja. The conference which attracted stakeholders across the world covered various areas, focusing specifically on financing challenges facing aviation infrastructure and capacity development in Africa