Nigerians, especially air travelers, have appealed to President Bola Tinubu to transform the nation’s aviation sector by making it compete with its equals across the globe by further injecting vibrancy in the industry.
This appeal was made during separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
They opined that focusing on infrastructure development in the aviation industry and taking serious the expansion of the National Carrier recently unveiled, would attract investors, increase business and improve the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Sokoto-based APC stalwart, Musa Sarkin-Adar, who urged the president to prioritize the aviation sector, added that the industry had been mismanaged for a long time and its potentials had not been properly harnessed.
Sarkin-Adar, who served for 16 years as member of the House of Representatives, pointed out that Nigerians ought to have leveraged on the potentials in the aviation sector.
“Meanwhile, the large population in Nigeria represents a huge market. Aviation leverages on the population of our people. Unfortunately, we did not take advantage of that,” he said .
“In the account of over 200 million people, we have less than 40 flights flying out of the country to international connections, which is under representation of the aviation industry.”
“For example, take Heathrow in London to JFK in New York , every 15 minutes there is a flight originating from Heathrow to JKF and there is equally another flight coming from JFK to Heathrow, “ he said.
According to him, the population of the UK is less than 70 million people while America is less than 300 million people and Nigerians are 200 million.
He said Nigeria was supposed to have nothing less than 500 hundred international flights on daily bases.
Mr Abdulmalik Jibreel, Abuja Station Manager of the Aero Contractors, advised the new regime to create jobs by building relevant industries across the country to grow transportation.
According to him, people are not doing well in the economy and they cannot travel anywhere.
Jibreel stated that government officials occupied a good number of seats on many flights, not business people.
He added that the reverse is supposed to be the case as it is in Europe, America and other places.
“People are not doing well in the economy. If the economy is doing very well, you will see everybody moving everywhere within Africa, within Asia, within Europe, within America and within Latin America.”
“But unfortunately it is not so. Even here internally, imagine, Abuja is the hub of everywhere. You cannot connect from Lagos to anywhere until you come to Abuja.”
“We don’t have many such flights to various places unless you connect to Lagos or you connect to Abuja. There should be direct flight to any state you are going to, “ he said.
According to him, if there is political will towards industrialization, the county will experience increased frequencies of local and international flights.
Some students, who arrived from Lagos, spoke at Arrival (terminal C) of NAIA, that the president ought to accelerate expansion of Nigeria Air (National Carrier), and seek the reduction of flight tickets.
“We have confidence in the person of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s capacity. See what he did in Lagos.
“We have confident that he will replicate that to cover the whole of Nigeria.