The federal has disclosed plans to take over 10 airports from State governments to help boost the aviation sector.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation for the 2021 budget defence, said the decision is to further boost the aviation industry, having realised that it was the fastest-growing sector of the nation’s economy.
The minister listed the airports to be taken over to include those of Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kebbi, Osubi, Dutse airports.
The Federal Government also gave an indication to float a new national carrier next year as part of its roadmap for the aviation sector in the 2021 budget.
Sirika said the roadmap to be implemented through Public-Private Partnership, PPP has the establishment of the national carrier as a top priority.
“In 2021, the sum of N78.960billion is being proposed for capital expenditure at the headquarters in the Aviation Ministry and the emphasis will focus on the implementation of the Aviation Roadmap.
“The roadmap would be implemented through Public-Private Partnership, topmost of which will be the establishment of the national carrier,” he said.
Other projects to be executed as spelt out in the roadmap, according to him, are the establishment of Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul, MRC facility, development of agro-allied cargo infrastructure, the establishment of the Aviation Leasing Company, Search and Rescue Unit, and Aerospace University with the support of International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO.
The national carrier, the minister stressed that all required agreements and arrangements with other partners have been worked out, making 2021 the year the plan that has been in the pipeline will get practical actualization.
“This government right from inception in 2015, has been planning and strategizing on how to resuscitate the national carrier for Nigeria as far as global air transportation is concerned, the plan going by what is on the ground now, will be actualised next year through the PPP arrangement.”
The minister added that aviation is the fastest-growing sector of the Nigerian economy despite the set back suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indications to this effect, he said, are that 10 new airports are coming up in the country in states like Benue, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Yobe, etc, apart from other ones taken over by the federal government as those of Gombe, Kebbi, Dutse and Zuru Airports.
He, however, said that safety and security are more important issues to them in the aviation sector than the establishment of new airports.