The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has stated that deficit in aviation infrastructure has been a major setback for the development of efficient air transport sector in Africa.
Sirika stated this at the opening of a two-day workshop on Aviation Infrastructure For Africa Gap Analysis organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), in Abuja.
He said that Africa had become one of the fastest growing air transport markets in the world due to an emerging industrial sector and increasing population.
According to him, these amongst many other reasons creates tremendous opportunity for progress as aviation already supports almost seven million jobs and 72.5 billion dollars in gross domestic product (GDP).
“However, in terms of infrastructure requirements to support future capacity, aviation in Africa and other regions face some serious constraints due to inadequate airport capacity, air traffic management technologies and dearth of aviation personnel.
“Africa aviation requires significant upgrade and expansion to meet the requirements of the projected growth but has to overcome insufficient access to financial resources for aviation development and modernisation.
“You would all agree with me that there is the need for Africa’s civil aviation infrastructure to be as efficient, effective and sustainable as its counterparts in terms of reliability and versatility of their operations,” he said.
President, ICAO Council, Bernard Aliu, said that Africa accounted for about four per cent of global air transport services and had the highest potential for growth out of all global regions.
Aliu, however, lamented that in spite of the continent’s large population, its potential had not yet translated into strong and better development in African states.
He disclosed that the ICAO air traffic forecast indicated that the current global traffic figures, which stood at 4.1 billion passengers transported on 38 million flights, were expected to double in the next 15 years.
According to him, passengers and traffic specifically in the African region are expected to grow approximately by 4.3 per cent and 3.8 per cent annually through 2025.
“We consider the potential of this growth and especially how much it should be operated through the African Union’s very important initiative toward the development of the single African air transport market,.
“However, it becomes apparent that the growth in traffic must be accompanied by commensurate investment and commitment to new and modernised airport and air navigation equipments.
“It is, therefore, urgent for Africa to address the aviation infrastructure gaps, given current awareness on how airport activities have become indispensable catalysts for socio economic growth of this continent,” he said.
Reports say that the workshop, a follow up on the ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF) held in November 2017 in Abuja has about 150 delegates from African countries as participants.
The workshop, according to ICAO boss is expected to set a basis to formulate quality aviation infrastructure programme and master plan for Africa, at state and regional levels with agreed scope, broad and specific objectives.
In line with the objective of the workshop, a preliminary survey on aviation infrastructure in Africa covering airports, air navigation services, and air operators with respect to fleet capacity will be conducted.
“State by State sample infrastructure gap analysis as relates to the present demand will be presented on the basis of the data obtained from the survey and other relevant information from the various stakeholders.”
Nigeria Saves $500,000 From Calibration Aircraft – Minister
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said that Nigeria will be saving a lot of money from the acquisition of a custom made calibration aircraft recently acquired by the Federal Government.
Sirika who disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents in Abuja, Tuesday, said the purpose of the aircraft was to calibrate navigational equipment and aid the country for the purpose of flight operations.
The aircraft which is worth about $8.5 million, according to the minister, will be commercialised to generate revenue, and keep the industry safe.
“We used to have one in Nigeria, but for the last two decades, we never had any. What propelled us to procure this aircraft was that while we were reconstructing the Abuja runway, we needed to recalibrate all those landing aids. That is the standard requirement and this is to ensure they are working in perfect order.
“The last time Nigeria had such aircraft was 20 years ago under cover aviation flying unit. We did not have the capacity as a country, the only people close to us that had is ASECNA which is owned by French speaking countries, but the aircraft is domiciled in Niger.
“We approached them but they did not have a slot for us. If I hadn’t got the support of far away South Africa, we would not beat the six weeks deadline.
“Nigeria will be saving a lot of money by procuring this aircraft. I know I paid about $500,000 when our equipment was due to South African contractor to carry out the task.
“ If you say every six months, we will do this, and that would be half a million dollars every six months. So when we do it sixteen times, the value of the aircraft would have been paid. Not only that, we will commercialise it to generate revenue and keep our industry safe “, Sirika said.
The minister, however, explained that it took about nine months from when the request was made to the completion and installation of the equipment.
The Tide reports that the aircraft was built in Textron Aviation Services, Kansas in the United States, and it is expected to improve safety in the aviation industry.
PH Airport Manager Seeks Safety Awareness, Education At Airports
The Safety Manager, Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Mr Oguche Samuel, has harped on the need for continuous awareness and education on safety at the nation’s airports.
He said the continuous safety education would create awareness to staff and stakeholders at the airports on their safety responsibilities.
Samuel disclosed this while addressing participants at the safety promotion day at the airport which focused on Foreign Object Deris (FOD),
He urged participants and staff to be good safety ambassadors in their day to day activities, stressing that safety is one of the core values of FAAN.
Meanwhile, the management of the Port Harcourt International Airport has keyed into the Airport Emergency Plan programme as plans are in full gear towards the certification of the airport.
The Tide reliably learnt that the management of the airport recently took steps in training staff in relevant departments on emergency plan.
Instructors from Accra in Ghana, it was gathered, were invited to train some of the staff of the airport in the later part of last year.
The training was aimed at developing staff capacity to effectively and efficiently handle emergency response with the certification of the airport.
FAAN Moves To Check Security Threats At Airside
Following reported cases of intrusion into airside at the nation’s airports, particularly at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at nights, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu has taken steps to install thermal and infrared cameras for airside monitoring and patrol.
The introduction of thermal and infrared cameras is meant to monitor and expose happenings or any intruder who manages to gain access to airports, especially at nights.
FAAN, in a press statement on Tuesday, said it took the steps because anything that happens at the airside, has a ripple effect on the aviation industry.
“We are mostly particular about the airside because at the end of the day, security and safety are paramount and anything that happens at the airside has a ripple effect and we are here to ensure that our airports are safe.
FAAN posited that it is a dangerous practice to go and open aircraft cargo door because of the engine blast which might occur on the process.
“The proximity switch and the plunder could vibrate when the engine level is moved above idle running; for some seconds, the light may flash and warning light will remain off. It is even an easy thing to open the cargo door while the engine is running.
“Rotation of the handle activates a torque tube to withdraw the latch rollers from the latch fitting and as the door swings on board under tension of the door balance mechanism, the door warning proximity switch is activated to energize the appropriate door warning in the control cabin to alert the Crewe”, FAAN stated.
Enumerating other efforts being made to tackle the problem, FAAN explained that the Authority has put patrol vans fitted with cameras on the dashboard to capture the environment during patrol, saying although this might be a temporary measure.
Our correspondent reports that there were reports of incidents of intruders allegedly opening the cargo compartment of aircraft either taxing or holding on the runway, particularly at the Lagos airport, which had become a cause of concern to FAAN management.
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