Aviation transformation, everybody’s responsibility – Senate President

The Senate President, Dr David Mark has called on all Nigerians to be a part of the Federal Government's Transformation Agenda as it is being implemented in the aviation industry so that the dream of transforming the industry would be realized.

He made the call at the flag-off of domestic flight operations at the international wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Thursday.

The Senate President said he believed that the transformation agenda was not just an aviation agenda but a national dream which would help to restore the country to its rightful place among the countries of the world.

He expressed his appreciation for the stand taken by the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, during the recent misunderstanding between the Nigerian and the British governments over the issue of parking slot for Arik Air at London's Heathrow Airport.

He said, "I want to appreciate your stand on the British Airways issue. You made us very proud and you made Nigeria very proud especially those who travel by air. I know that because you stood your ground that was why BA and British government changed their position on the issue. We also know that you have done us very proud and to encourage that, we shall stand behind you day and night".

He said that the transformation agenda of this administration was a programme that all Nigerians should take seriously, adding that the National Assembly had keyed into it.

The Senate President explained that human factor had a major role to play in the transformation of the entire aviation industry, because if the remodelled facilities are misused, the transformation agenda would suffer some setback adding that "once these facilities are provided, it is the responsibility of the citizens to use them as they are designed to be used."

The Senate President also noted that one of the parameters used in assessing any country's development is its airports, since they are the first contact point for first time visitors. According to him, "when you arrive at the airport you make up your mind whether the country is good or bad. The way you are treated, the atmosphere at the airport, the convenience, the facilities, all these help to form the very first impression of any country." He therefore called on the leadership of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria to take this into consideration.

The Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah in her remarks had assured all Nigerians that the transformation taking place at the airports in recent times as shown in the remodelling of some terminal buildings was just the beginning of greater things to come in the country's aviation industry.

Princess Oduah said Nigeria is a great country and its citizens deserve better services than they are getting now. She promised to give air passengers in Nigeria a glimpse of hope, since according to her, "when you are paying what you are paying to fly, you deserve value for your money".

She promised to make Nigeria a regional hub in the West African air transport region, by providing world class terminals that guarantee the safety, and comfort of passengers.

The Managing Director of FAAN, Mr. George Uriesi, in his welcome address, had earlier said that the transformation agenda would involve both infrastructural and staff development because the new facilities to be installed would require well informed and motivated staff, to maintain them professionally. He assured Nigerians that the airports that would emerge from the re-modelling project would make all Nigerians proud.

Akin Olukunle
G.M.(Public Affairs)

Airports in Nigeria

FAAN owns and manages several airports across the nation.