President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja expressed concern over the enormous debt profile of Nigeria’s aviation sector, saying that his administration will act quickly to redress the situation.
He said: “I am concerned about the enormous debt profile in the aviation sector. The Federal Government has to do something quickly because safety, security and international respectability are involved here.
“Our airports are the windows through which people see our country. Anybody coming into the country will likely come through the airports.
“If we cannot secure and maintain our infrastructure, it will reflect very badly on us”, Buhari said after receiving a briefing from the Federal Ministry of Aviation”.
The President directed the Ministry of Aviation to speed up all processes and projects relating to the safety and security of Nigeria’s air transport system.
He also directed that counterpart funding for the upgrading of the international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu, should be captured in the 2016 budget.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Binta Bello told the President that the five new International Airport Terminal Buildings were designed to meet the best international standards.
The five international terminals, she said, could cater for 62 million passengers annually when completed in the first quarter of 2016, with Lagos moving from 7 million passengers’ capacity to 25 million, Abuja moving from 5 million to 16 million, while Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu, will have the capacity for 7 million passengers each.
However, stakeholders in the aviation industry have expressed divergent views following the directive by Buhari that the Ministry of Aviation should expedite action on the establishment of a new national airline.
While some said that establishing a new national carrier should not be the Federal Government’s priority, others argued that even if the government set up a new national carrier, it should not have equity in the proposed national carrier.