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Why FAAN is developing General Aviation in Nigeria

Why FAAN is developing General Aviation in Nigeria
ANTHONY OMOH
With general aviation rapidly gaining ground in the country with all the acquisition of private jets by many Nigerians and growing interest in charter flights, plans are now on the way to develop that area of the sector probably as rapidly as it is growing.
Nigerians, most especially the high class, have taken to actually buying their own aircraft for private use or now chartering aircraft so that they can conveniently get to where they need to go without experiencing the hassles of flight delays and cancellations.
And the Ministry of Aviation through the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has deemed it fit to provide facilities that would match this kind of service to make it comfortable for these classes of travellers as well as become a serious revenue point for FAAN among other things.
It is against this backdrop that the minister is trying to look at all the gray areas of this aspect of the business and create regulation that will sustain it so it does not become an uncontrollable affair.
Even the deputy senate president, noted the rise  of the use of private jets and dispelled rumours that anybody could stop people from its importation so long as they meet requirement, his argument was based on the premise that if the owner had the financial backing and wanted to, he or she could buy a jet.
And once that is done, a place should be provided that would meet the needs of these special travellers.
Why we are developing General Aviation
Managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. George Uriesi has described General Aviation consisting of private aircraft owners and chartered airline services as a revenue earner and thus needs development as it is growing in an accelerated rate.
 He explained that the airport authority will be developing this area in not only Lagos and Abuja alone but all the other areas that this sort of aviation activity has shown promise in recent times.
 Speaking at the commissioning of the General Aviation Terminal  (GAT) in Abuja, Uriesi said that people would be amazed at the level of growth in chartered services as Abuja alone accounts for more than 40 take offs and landings of chartered aircraft or privately owned ones.
 The FAAN boss went further to explain that already hajj terminals have been built and some remodelled in Kaduna, Kano and Abuja while serious remodelling was ongoing in normal passengers terminal at all the 22 airports in the country and so FAAN was providing the private charter service, services commiserate with their expectation.
He said,” We have something like 40 private chartered flight a day in Abuja alone and all have one passenger or three or six passengers and so it is a premium service and obviously attracts premium tickets and so the mathematics tell us that it will pay for itself and make profit.”
Uriesi however said that there were some airports that do not have such viability and thus FAAN would not build any GAT there as such places do not have the potential for that kind of aviation as of yet.
He said,” It is our fastest growing segment and you will be amazed at the level of growth. The quiet airports are taking five to six charter flights daily because that is the way this segments gets around so you will be surprised that these charter or private jet in Kano, in Kaduna, in Yola who have their jets are taking them in and out every day, it is enough and you may not need a large terminal like this (the GAT Abuja) you will need something smaller but it would provide the same service and be profitable so you give to each what is expected.”
“So when they fly from here to Yola or anywhere else they get the same experience. There are some airports with no activities, we are not doing this there, we are only doing it where there are activities and those are the airports I mentioned,” He said.
Policy
However, everything the FAAN boss said would be mere dreams without ministerial backing and a thorough and well thought out regulatory framework on which the business would develop  and the Minister of Aviation Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah who talked about the trend has said a policy is underway to regulate that aspect of the aviation business.
Speaking in Abuja during a chat with reporters after the commissioning of the General Aviation Terminal of Abuja Airport, she said the draft regulations and guidelines are ready for final approval but a meeting of the operators in the general aviation business was being called for.
This she said would hold next week with the aim of   intimating them and possibly have their in-puts in certain areas of the draft.
According to Oduah, before the boost in this aspect of the business, there were no specific regulations for operators of general aviation business and that in view of the importance of this particular sub-section of the industry, there was the urgent need to put in place regulations guiding their operations.
She also noted that there were lots of grey areas in the operations of the general aviation in the country which the planned meeting would address and incorporate in the new regulations.
She said that as at today, there were not less than 50 jets owned by operators in this sector adding that the number was expected to triple by next year.

About anthony omoh

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I am a Journalist with a passion for developmental stories and nigerianflightdeck.com was born out of passion for reporting the travel, business and aviation sub-sector. This site is an expression of my ideals and creativity as a reporter and my discretion as a publisher. I am extremely content doing this and I am sure when you read my stories you’d understand that I touch people and that’s why

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