ABUJA: The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has stressed the need for Africa’s Civil aviation infrastructure to be as efficient, effective and sustainable as their counterparts in terms of reliability and versatility of their operations.

Sirika, who made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the opening of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Workshop on Infrastructure Gap Analysis, pointed out gap analysis will provide investors with knowledge on specific areas of interventions.

He noted that, although Aviation already supports almost Seven Million jobs and 72.5 billion Dollars GDP, there are still serious constraints to infrastructural requirements.

According to him, “Africa is one of the fastest growing air transport markets in the world; this is due to an emerging industrial sector and increasing population. These amongst many other reasons created tremendous opportunity for progress.

“However, in terms of infrastructure requirements to support future capacity; Aviation in Africa and other regions faces some serious constraints due to inadequate airport capacity, and air traffic management technologies and a dearth of aviation personnel.

“Africa aviation requires significant upgrade and expansion to meet the requirements of the projected growth but has to overcome the problem of insuffient access to financial resources for aviation development and modernization”, he stated.

He further noted that the workshop, as part of the 2019 Aviation Safety in Africa (AFI Plan), is expected to provide basis for the formulation of aviation infrastructure programmes and Master Plans for Africa at State and regional levels.

Sirika, added that the workshop follows the conduct of a preliminary survey on aviation infrastructure in Africa covering Airports, Air Navigation Services and Aircraft fleet capacity and equipage.

Earlier, the President, ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliyu, stated that Africa accounted for about four per cent of global air transport services and had the highest potential for growth out of all global regions.

He disclosed that the ICAO air traffic forecast indicated that the current global traffic figures, which stood at 4.1 billion passengers transported on 38 million flights, were expected to double in the next 15 years.

“Passengers and traffic specifically in the African region are expected to grow approximately by 4.3 per cent and 3.8 per cent annually through 2025”, he said. “We consider the potential of this growth, and especially how much it should be operated through the African Union’s very important initiative toward the development of the single African air transport market”.

Aliyu, however stressed that the growth in traffic must be accompanied by commensurate investment and commitment to new and modernised airport and air navigation equipment.

“It is, therefore, urgent for Africa to address the aviation infrastructure gaps, given current awareness on how airport activities have become indispensable catalysts for socio-economic growth of this continent,” he said.

According to the ICAO boss, the Workshop is expected to set a basis to formulate quality aviation infrastructure programme and master plan for Africa, at state and regional levels with agreed scope, broad and specific objectives.

“You would recall that in November, 2017, the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AFDB) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) hosted the Third ICAO Word Aviation Forum (IWAF3) with the theme “Financing the Development of Aviation Infrastructure”.

Participants from about 54 countries are taking part in the workshop.

James Odaudu

Deputy Director, Media and Public Affairs

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