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Sirika to local airlines: Take advantage of our bad roads… develop routes

Sirika to local airlines: Take advantage of our bad roads… develop routes
February 04
13:14 2020

Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, has asked local airlines in the country to take advantage of the country’s population and bad roads, and develop routes.

Sirika said this while reacting to complaints of the local airlines that foreign airlines are taking up more routes which they “should be flying”.

In an interview with Channels TV on Monday, the minister said while he has been receiving requests for more foreign airlines to use the Lagos airport, the capacity of the airport has forced him to spread their routes to other parts of the country.

He said Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos was built for 200,000 capacity but currently takes as much as eight million passengers.

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“As a policy maker, I ought to look after that guy whom I want his business to develop as much as I want the business of the local airlines to develop. So I have to strike a balance between the two,” he said.

“I allow them (foreign airlines) to go to Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja; big deal. Still, the population of Nigeria with 200 million people and 926,766sq. km of land mass, with dilapidated infrastructure, especially roads, support aviation businesses and air transportation in Nigeria.

“So, the local airlines must not be lazy. They should get up and develop the routes.”

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The minister cited an example with the Nigeria Airways which he said was having its planes “filled on Lagos to Maiduguri route”.

“Nigeria Airways was going to Makurdi, Yola, Sokoto. But these people (local airlines) want to do the triangle of Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, the easy way to make money,” he said.

“Today, we have airlines that have created routes. Example, Overland. Somebody has suffered the initial shocks to open those routes and kept the faith, develop the confidence and trust of passengers.

“I think they don’t see it, they only see it from their own business. I should support them, but I should also support the downtrodden whose business was also for the Nigerian people.”

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He said Nigeria plans to create two aviation hubs in Lagos and Abuja as part of plans to improve the aviation industry.

“Our geography supports the creation of hubs and part of our policy is to create two hubs, perhaps one hub in Abuja, which will tender for international, and the natural hub in Lagos that tender for regional flights and so on,” he said.

“So, it is our intention to create these hubs, and that is why we are trying to expand these airports to be able to accommodate these things that are coming.”

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1 Comment

  1. Apostle
    Apostle February 06, 15:21

    Reminds me of the statement “If they don’t have bread, let them eat cakes” The farmer in my village will fly her garri to the market.

    Reply to this comment

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