The Federal Government says there is no going back on its plan to concession the four major airports in the country.
The Minister of state for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who met with journalists in Lagos, explained that government had already indicated interest to concession the Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airports to improve their safety and capacity.
Mr. Sirika said the current condition of airports had made it extremely difficult for Nigeria to attract the desired number of passengers to transform the country into an aviation hub.
“Nigeria has potential to do between 70 to 100 million passengers annually, within the next five years, if the right things are put in place.
“The 15 million annual passengers which is the country’s current capacity can be improved upon if private investors are allowed to participate in the sector.
“Government does not have money to put into these businesses and we don’t want to sell these facilities either; so that is why we are concessioning them because it is the only way to go,’’ he said.
He also described the recent protest by some aviation unions as a misconception because this decision is to ensure proper management, while government retains ownership of the airports.
The minister noted that aviation was a money spinner and could help the government to generate revenue which would be used to revitalize the Nigerian economy.
He said the government was committed to the establishment of a national carrier, a Repair, Maintenance and Overhaul (MRO) facility and an aviation leasing company which would all be privately funded.
The minister noted that their absence in the country had constituted a huge challenge to the growth of the aviation sector.