By Chinelo Obogo
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has revealed that Nigeria lost at least $2.5 billion (about N1.25 trillion) for maintenance of its aircraft to foreign Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities in 2021.
Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja at the inaugural National Aviation Conferences (FNAC) organised by FAAN with the theme: ‘Advancing the Frontiers of Possibilities for Safe, Secure and Profitable Air Transport,’ the Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, said that such capital flight would have been saved if the country had viable MRO facilities that could adequately cater for all types of aircraft.
To typically carry out C-check on Boeing 737 aircraft or its others in its category, airlines spend at least $1.8 million and C-check is carried out on aircraft every 18 months. It should however be noted that airlines like Aero Contractors and 7Star own MROs.
Yadudu said that Nigeria’s potential in the global air transport industry is underutilised as Nigeria has the largest fleet of aircraft within the subregion.
He said: “It was reported that Nigeria lost $2.5 billion (about N1.25 trillion) in MRO investments to neighbouring countries. Having such investments here would have created more employment opportunities for Nigerians, revenue generation and training of technical personnel for maintenance of aircraft.
“The inter link and value chain between the air transport, tourism and hospitality industry for economic growth cannot be over emphasized. Today, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, London bridge, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, the British museum in United Kingdom, among others have all been consciously developed into major tourist attractions that drive passenger traffic to those destinations and by implication attract businesses and generate employments for the locals and foreigners alike,” he said.
Yadudu lauded the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the Permanent Secretary, Directors of the Federal Ministry of Aviation, the Senate and House Committee Chairmen and other stakeholders for supporting the industry at all times.
Earlier, Sirika in his goodwill message, disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari would at any moment from now sign into law the Civil Aviation Bill passed by the National Assembly. He assured that with the president’s assent to the bill, Nigerian aviation industry would grow rapidly, while more opportunities would also be created for all stakeholders and investors. He pointed out that the Aviation Industry Roadmap as approved by the Federal Government was intentionally fashioned after the Public Private Participation (PPP) model with the plan to grow the entire sector.
He challenged investors to tap into the myriads of opportunities in the sector, especially with the recently approved 12, hectares of land for implementation of the aviation roadmap by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).