A voluntary think-tank group in the ruling party, the APC Legacy Awareness and Campaign, has scored the present administration high in turning around the aviation sector in the country.
A statement signed by Lanre Issa-Onilu and Salihu Mohammed Lukman, former national publicity secretary of the party and Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum, respectively, noted that in terms of service delivery by operators and provision of infrastructures that measure up with global best practices, the strategic sector has fared better under the present administration.
The APC Legacy Awareness and Campaign recalled that in the heat of the global pandemic, Coronavirus, and to mitigate the financial challenge, the federal government made a provision of N5 billion Naira in bailout funds, which was shared amongst airlines, ground handling companies, travel agencies, flight catering services operators, and other stakeholders.
In the area of infrastructures, the group recalled that the new Terminals of the Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano International Airports, inherited from the previous administration, have been completed, while the new Lagos Terminal is very close to completion. Brand new Runways have been constructed at the Abuja and Enugu International Airports, in 2017 and 2020, respectively.
“More than a dozen airports around the country have had Low-Level Windshear Alert Systems (LLWAS) installed, to improve flight safety. Investigations revealed that the Sosoliso and ADC plane crashes of 2005 and 2006 respectively were caused by the absence of LLWAS in the airports. The Lagos and Abuja Airports have had the Category 3 Instrument Landing System (ILS) installed – which provides the capability for landing safely and accurately in conditions of near-zero visibility. Another 3 Nigerian Airports have been scheduled to benefit this year.
“The Concession process for the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt International Airports – the four main International Airports in the country – is ongoing, with completion of the process scheduled for 2022.
“A significant portion of the investment into the Aviation Sector has been focused on resolving issues and bridging gaps inherited from previous Administrations. One example is the payment of pensions owed to staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways. President Buhari approved that the backlog of almost twenty years is cleared, and has released funds to this effect. The reconstruction of the Runways in Abuja and Enugu were also long overdue but neglected by previous governments. Investments that should have been made over the decades are now finally being made.
“Under President Buhari’s watch, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) has acquired several new training aircraft and has been recognised globally by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. Among other things the NCAT now has a brand new Boeing 737 Full Flight Simulator, as well as a fully automated Fire and Smoke Aircraft Training Simulator, which now means that Nigerian personnel no longer have to be sent to Cameroon for training on tackling aircraft fires and smoke.
“The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) now has a world-class Flight Safety Laboratory, which means that Airplane Recorders, popularly known as “Black Box”, no longer have to be sent abroad for analysis. Furthermore, the AIB is now actively providing technical support and services to other African countries, including assisting Sierra Leone to set up its own Accident Investigation Agency, in 2021.”
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