Nigerian Government targets $10bn from national carrier

BY: Isaac Yeboah

Ms. Stella Oduah, Minister of AviationNigeria's Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah has at the weekend said the federal government was targeting over $10 billion as  revenue from the proposed National Flag Carrier in its long term strategic plan before 2026. The Carrier, a ministry official confided in THISDAY, will roll out its operation before the end of the third quarter. One of the major objectives for the establishment of National Carrier which will be privately and professionally managed, Oduah averred, is to meet the country’s reciprocal obligations under Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) and increase revenue and commercial opportunities to Nigerians.

The minister made the disclosure in Abuja while taking her turn at the Ministerial Platform to unveil her ministry’s scorecard in the last two years. “This strategy is expected to create over 200,000 direct and indirect jobs and to positively impact on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by up to $10 billion by 2026,” she said.

According to the minister, the National Carrier has become expedient, considering the massive upgrading and remodeling that is currently being undertaken by her ministry, adding that the National Carrier will have domestic, regional and intercontinental flights.”It will further complement the existing airlines operating in Nigeria,” she said.

“We expect the National Carrier to partner with Africa focused aircraft leasing businesses. It is expected this will result in Nigerian passenger numbers exceeding 25 million by 2018 and 30 million by 2032. The National Carrier, alongside the other existing Nigerian airlines will have access to newer, more affordable and suitable aircraft that can service the underutilised airports.”

While lamenting the lack of adequate patronage of the nation’s domestic operators, she said in 2012, the top international airlines operating in Nigeria carried over one million passengers and generated more than $1.5 billion revenue. With the coming of a National Carrier, she was optimistic that there would be more travel, more trade, more jobs and more revenues for Nigeria.

She expressed delight at the development of new terminals in the following locations of Akanu Ibiam International terminal, Enugu, Murtala Mohammed International terminal, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe international terminal, Abuja, Port Harcourt terminal and Aminu Kano International terminal. The additional capacity through the expansion works, according to her, would handle over 18 million passengers with Lagos to cater for more than 45 per cent of the total passengers.

“Passenger traffic grew rapidly without commensurate increase in capacity of terminal buildings and other infrastructure for facilitation. “In the last 12 years, passenger traffic at the airports increased from about 4 million to about 15 million per annum at the end of 2012, while the capacity of the terminals remain constant. By 2032 our expansion programme is expected to conveniently process 30 million passengers per annum,” she added.