The federal government has said the Aviation sector needs about $50 billion to develop the airports to be able to airlift about 110 million passengers by 2043.
It is estimated that Nigeria’s population would rise to about 230 million in 2043, with passenger movement predicted at 75 per cent of the nation’s population.
Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka who made the projection ‎said with appropriate policies, programme initiatives and incentives the set objectives would be realised.
Chidoka said the industry required economic stimulus, which would involve a package of financial incentives and support across the aviation value chain.
According to him, the key focus areas are aerodrome infrastructure and operation, airline operation safety and aviation allied services.
The minister said airspace management, manpower development also needed attention and these could be achieved through national aviation policy.
Chidoka explained that the industry needed stimulus package because many successful airlines in the world today were supported by their host countries and that was the only way they could succeed to become global players.
For example, he said the US paid $40bilkion to Delta Air Lines in subsidies, Qatar gave Qatar Airways $8.4 billion loans, $6.8 billion in subsidies while it received $616 million in subsidies.
He admitted that the Nigerian aviation industry is under performing, disclosing that out of the nation’s N80.3 trillion ($509.9 billion) GDP aviation contributes only $0.7 billion.
The minister attributed part of the underdevelopment of the industry to untapped regional opportunities, under financed domestic airlines, weak corporate governance, under utilised Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) agreement and poor incentives for private sector participation.
These he said, had given rise to weak institutions, inability of the sector to significantly contribute to GDP, loss of economic opportunity and low capacity to take advantage of the growing market potential.
Chidoka observed that over the years, the industry recorded poor performance, huge indebtedness, significant gaps in flag capacity and underserved regional market.
Making a comparison, Chidoka noted that Dubai aviation sector contributes 27 per cent of the UAE GDP, South Africa 2.1 per cent but Nigeria contributes only 0.4 per cent.
He stated that although Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa but it does not have viable airlines that can compete effectively in the continent, noting that Kenya domestic air transport sector is the fourth largest in sub-Saharan Africa, it flies to 59 destinations worldwide and carries over three million passengers annually.
He admitted that Nigeria high population is a huge asset, which is yet to be tapped in the aviation sector.
Chidoka said the action plan to realise the objective to develop a viable air transport system in Nigeria would include stimulation and increase in foreign direct investment into the industry, reduction of industry risk and expansion of credit and aviation finance tailored to sector requirements.
The government, he said, would also help to stimulate and facilitate local direct investment into the industry, adding that government would facilitate its intervention and guarantee to boost industry performance.
In addition to the above, he said government would also create robust regional hub/aviation city model that drives commercialisation.
It would also improve corporate governance, band enterprise risk of industry operators, liberalise the Nigerian airspace by implementing the Yamoussoukro Declaration and stimulate the volume of aviation finance required to drive the next level of industry growth and government would also review intervention fund models and facilitate a more robust sector financing framework, Chidoka added.
“The Nigerian aviation industry is expected to provide the opportunity for economic growth, accelerate greater global economic links, generate significant wider economic benefits and increase contribution to national GDP,” the minister said.