The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has decried the nation’s air transport industry, describing it as horrible.
The minister expressed his disenchantment while fielding questions from newsmen on the sidelines of the ICAO-AFI Regional Workshop on Improvement of A fundamental Safety Oversight System in the Area of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation with RASG-AFI States in Abuja.
He reiterated that the Federal Government was floating a new national carrier, Nigerian Air, because the industry, currently driven by the private sector, had been unable to provide excellent air transport services for Nigerians.
The minister noted that the ongoing efforts in the last 40 years for the liberalisation of the sub-sector notwithstanding, the private sector had failed to deliver the goods for the utmost satisfaction of Nigerians.
Sirika noted that the need for efficient air services has become more imperative with the nation’s high population of 180 million.
He regretted that the huge market share had not been met with an enviable service delivery.
The minister stressed that these services were highly needed to catalyse the economy, adding that no magic could be done to remove air transportation from the system.
He said: “Air transport is a catalyser. It is a settled question in transportation. So, as a responsible government, we should step up and provide the environment to kick-start the process and get it achieved so that Nigerians can have the air carrier it deserves for its capacity, economy, people and population.”
Sirika, however, dismissed insinuations that the establishment of the national carrier would ruin aviation entrepreneurs, stating that its coming onboard would instead engender a healthy competition in the industry.
However, the Accident Instigation Bureau (AIB) yesterday said it had sealed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Benin Republic and other African nations for assistance in the investigation of accidents.
The AIB Commissioner, Captain Akin Olateru, also disclosed that the bureau had concluded the probe of the air accident in Sao Tome and sent its report to the affected government, aircraft operator and Russia for feedback within the stipulated 60-day review.