Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Six Years On, Nigeria Yet to Implement Aviation Master Plan

Six years on, Nigeria yet to implement aviation master plan

Wednesday, 06 July 2011 00:00 By Wole Shadare
Nigerian Guardian

SIX years after the global aviation regulatory body, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), developed a master plan on how the sector could be developed, not much has been done by way of its execution in the country.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Master Plan 2005 final draft report, tagged “Camp 05,” which was developed by the ICAO, stated that Nigeria had a sound administrative structure for civil aviation, and an extensive network of airports serving all the main centres of population.

However, the body stated that all these airports have suffered from chronic under-investment in recent years, resulting in degradation of facilities and services.

It stressed that a significant level of investment will be needed to rehabilitate, or upgrade them up to accepted international standards.

But years after the road map, there is little on ground to show that the Federal Government through the aviation agencies has done a lot to develop infrastructure at most of the country’s airports.

Most of the facilities are in decrepit state; the terminals at most of the international airports are inadequate and lack modern tools for passenger facilitation, thereby making air travel cumbersome.

The ICAO team completed its assignment on June 12,, 2005.

It noted that FAAN inherited and continued to carry a high debt load and overhead costs, which it needed to reduce.

The ICAO team stated that in the past, large infrastructure investments were decided without adequate industry consultation, stressing that to ensure proper cost control, decision makers must insist on a proper cost/benefit analysis before any major project is taken up for implementation.

It projected that between five and 10 years, the traffic projection for Lagos airport will hit 35, 900, 000; Abuja airport, 34, 975,000; Kano, 2,000,000; Port-Harcourt 4.2 million; and Calabar airport 1,280,000.

In 20 to 25 years, traffic in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Maiduguri, Yola, Calabar, Port-Harcourt, Jos, Bauchi, Osubi and Ilorin airports is projected to hit 67, 870,000, with little or limited facilities for the anticipated growth.

Speaking on the issue, President, Aviation Round Table (ART), Capt. Dele Ore, told The Guardian that the existing infrastructure did not show that Nigeria has done much for these projections.

After reading through the report, he noted that the only area of improvement was in civil aviation regulations.

Also, former Secretary General, African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Nick Fadugba, said: “If the government cannot afford the budget for this type of infrastructure, may be they should allow the private sector to come in and develop them.

“You have to think on a bigger scale. We have to have a bigger vision. I was a little bit disappointed the other day to learn that the Vice President of Nigeria, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi Lamido, former Minister of Aviation Fidelia Njeze and others came to open domestic terminal in Kano, which can only accommodate 250 people. I became very sad. It is not even up to the capacity of a Boeing 747.”

He added: “We have narrow vision and for the cr√®me of the society to come and celebrate this, I shook my head. When you go to Kenya, although their airport is not too fantastic, it is functional. Go to Cairo, go to Morocco, Johannesburg, you will marvel. But here in Nigeria, we were busy celebrating the opening of a terminal for 250 people. When two aircraft land there, there will be a crisis. I was very disappointed."

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