EUROPEAN aircraft manufacturing giants and lessor , Airbus Group has stated intention to open an operational office in the country as a mark of confidence in the government’s agenda for the aviation industry in Nigeria.This is just as the group informed the Minister of State Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika on its interest in government’s plans to concession the nation’s airports as well as the establishment of a national carrier, while also commending government’s plan to establish an aircraft leasing company in view of the inherent difficulties in acquiring new aircraft.
President of the Airbus Group for Africa, Vincent Larnicol who joined a delegation led by Ambassador of France in Nigeria, Denys Gauer made this known on the visit to the Minister of State for Aviation in his office today in the company of the Vice
The Airbus Executive who informed Sirika of the Group’s interest in the plans of government to concession also promised to collaborate, through its Cooperation Programme, with the Nigerian government in the establishment of an Aviation University to which the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is largely committed.
On its plan to open an office in Nigeria, the Airbus Group for Africa, Vice President told Sirika that company had expanded upon on its strong European roots to move forward on an international scale with fully owned subsidiaries in the United States, China, Japan, India and in the Middle East with spare parts centres in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Washington, Beijing, Dubai and Singapore as well as engineering and training centres in Toulouse, Miami, Wichita, Hamburg, Bangalore and Beijing; and more than 150 field service offices around the world.
According to him, Airbus, in its desire to get closer to its customers, is also actively developing engineering, manufacturing and service capabilities in Europe, China, India, Russia, the Middle East, Singapore and the United States. This, he said also informed the decision to establish its presence in Nigeria with the opening of an operational office.
In response, Senator Hadi Sirika informed the Ambassador and the Airbus delegation that the vision of the government for the sector include, among others; the establishment of a private sector-driven national carrier, concession of the nation’s major airports to make them more viable and up to global standards, repositioning domestic airlines to make them competitive and profitable, establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities and development of human capital for the anticipated expansion of the sector.
According to the Minister, the plan of the Buhari government was to gradually reposition the Nigerian Aviation industry in such a way that would turn the nation into a regional hub for air transportation, given the ICAO forecast of a quadruple growth for the nation’s air travel in the next ten years.
He expressed Nigeria’s preparedness to collaborate with all genuine partners, insisting, however, that government decisions and actions would always be guided by the protection of national interests.
The vision of the Buhari Administration for the Aviation sector has continued to attract global industry players into the country with the desire to be part of the expected reforms and developments, the latest being the visit from a delegation from industry giant, the Airbus Group of France.