Amidst rising opposition to the federal government’s aviation roadmap, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, is set to meet stakeholders as part of pushing ahead with the projects under the roadmap, Daily Trust can report.
The aviation roadmap recently suffered massive opposition with stakeholders kicking against key projects in it.
Daily Trust reports that the roadmap has about six projects – National Carrier, Airport Concession, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), Aircraft Leasing Company; Aerotropolis and Cargo Development.
It was unveiled about eight years ago during the first term of President Muhammadu Buhari.
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But more than seven years after, and with the administration gradually winding down, none of the projects under the roadmap has been actualised, raising questions about the commitment to their implementation.
For instance, the national carrier project has been in the pipeline since 2020 and missed several deadlines and targets without the project flying.
President Muhammadu Buhari last year indicated that the carrier, christened Nigeria Air, would begin operation by December last year.
However, the project was stalled due to the suit filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) challenging the equity partnership model which cedes a substantial part of the share to Ethiopian Airlines.
It is uncertain if the suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos would be decided any time soon as the administration winds down.
Also, the move to concession four major airports – Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA), Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State – is threatened by a fresh suit filed by aviation unions.
The unions, which have opposed the concession from day one, took their opposition a notch higher by filing the suit seeking a perpetual injunction preventing the minister from going ahead with the concession.
Amidst the hurdles faced by the critical projects under the roadmap, the minister is set to meet stakeholders in Abuja.
His Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr. James Odaudu, said the stakeholders’ forum, the 10th of the kind, was conceived “to bring together all relevant industry players to brainstorm on the policies and programmes that have and will continue to move the nation’s aviation industry forward and set it as one of the best in the global aviation community.”
Speaking with our correspondent on why the aviation roadmap has dragged for too long without any component of it being implemented, an analyst, Sindy Foster, said the minister “tried to impose what he wanted on the industry rather than deliver what the industry needed.”
Foster, who is the Managing Partner of Avaero Capital, observed that lack of genuine engagement “made it impossible for him to garner enough support whilst he ignored more pressing priorities for those whose shoes were pinching.”
She said, “You cannot easily package aviation into 4-8 year political cycles. And you cannot do all projects at the same time. There is a natural order of things; he failed to put his roadmap in any priority order.
“A roadmap would have been achievable if it had short-term, medium-term and long-term objectives arranged in a way that benefited existing investors as well as new investors. His focus was too much on new investors and new long-term projects. You rush these types of projects at your peril.”
She also noted that the roadmap was not strategic in nature, saying, “It was a transactional project-based roadmap. This is not what was needed to stabilise the industry and create growth for the future.”
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