Mr Isaac Balami, National President, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), has urged the Federal Government to make job creation in aviation industry a priority in re-establishing a national carrier.
Balami, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday, said that national carrier could only be beneficial if it would engender job creation.
He said that the conditions for partnership with any interested party in the national carrier project must emphasise employment opportunities.
Balami commended the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, for his determination to enhance the value of the nation’s aviation industry through focused policies.
He also hailed the pronouncement by the minister that any interested partner in the re-establishment of a national must have the capacity to source and produce aircraft spare parts locally.
According to him, the government must ensure that it develops a national carrier that will be self-sustaining and create thousands of jobs for its citizens.
“For us as industry stakeholders, we support anything that would create jobs and we have made this clear to the Minister of State, Aviation, over and over.
“Even during his time at the senate and its committee on aviation, we have always made it clear that job creation was very important if our aviation sector must develop.
“Setting condition for partnership is very important if the proposed national carrier must succeed,’’ he said.
He said that Boeing was in the U.S. and Airbus in France “but they are not manufacturing everything on their own because they produce some from China, India, Germany, etc”.
“Nigeria can equally be seen as one country that could open Africa to the aviation sector globally.
“For instance, if they say they want to open a factory locally here to manufacture aircraft parts or upholstery or aircraft seat in Nigeria, that factory can create thousands of jobs,’’ he stated.
Balami also commended the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for allowing Nigeria to host its 2016 Aviation Day.
He said that the opportunity was in recognition of the country’s role in the African aviation sector, adding that Nigeria was ahead of other African countries in terms of the number of aircrafts that operate in its airspace.
According to him, the number of aircraft that operates in Nigeria is actually more than the number from all other African countries put together, including South Africa and Egypt, and even Ethiopia.
“It is an opportunity for us to see how we can get more ideas on how we can grow our aviation sector.
“It is also an opportunity for people to come over to Nigeria to appreciate that the industry here is trending and that there are a lot of opportunities.
“It also goes to show that the growth is very possible and Nigeria has the potential to lead the whole of African aviation,’’ he said. (NAN)