The backwardness in the aviation sector is due to the dilapidated or absence of infrastructure in the industry, the Federal Government declared.
It, however, noted that the potential of aviation in Nigeria and Africa was enormous, as this was why stakeholders from across the world converged in Abuja to address the challenge of infrastructure in the sector.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this while speaking on the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation Workshop on Infrastructure Gap Analysis in Abuja.
He said, “The potential of aviation in Africa is enormous and it needs to be harnessed and well coordinated. Africa has over a billion people that are vast and wide that support aviation but where absence or dilapidated infrastructure is causing backwardness in the progress of the industry.
“I believe this workshop will afford us the opportunity to be able to carry out the right studies and analysis and then we will attack the problem head-on.”
The minister added, “The infrastructural deficit is a lot, beginning from airports and sounds, with the facilities at the airports, the aircraft, equipment handling, etc. There is an absence of everything that makes aviation works.”
He stated that financial institutions, government, airport owners, airlines and others participated in the meeting, adding that “the outcome of that is that we should determine when we should carry out the gap analysis which will form the basis for funding of aviation infrastructure in Africa.”
The President, ICAO, Olumuyiwa Aliyu, explained that Africa currently accounted for four per cent of global air transport services and had the highest potential for growth out of the other four global regions.
He, however, observed that despite the large population growth, the potential had not been translated into strong and significant development in African states.
Aliyu stated that the current global traffic figure showed that 4.1 billion passengers were transported on 38 million flights and that projections were that this would double in the next 15 years.
“Passenger and traffic specifically in the African region are expected to grow respectively by 4.3 and 3.8 per cent annually through 2035,” he stated.
He added, “When we consider the potential of this growth, it becomes apparent that growth in traffic must be accompanied by commensurate investment and commitment to the new and modernised airport and air navigation infrastructure.”
“It is, therefore, urgent for Africa to address its aviation infrastructure gaps giving current awareness of how air connectivity has become such a unique and indispensable catalyst to the socio-economic growth of this continent.”