PROFESSOR of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Provost, College of Engineering, Kwara State University, Professor Leo Daniel has canvassed government support and investment in Nigerian airlines to avoid a total collapse in that area of aviation.
This is just as he also advocated a well-rounded aviation system stating that the status quo is inadequate.
Professor Daniel in a recent interview, advocated for the same support carriers like Ethiopian, South African Airways get from their government to Nigerian carriers stating that such a move is sustainable.
“Look at British Airways, the British Airways is privatized but the government still owns a stake. In United State, Delta and United Airlines are all private industries but when they experience crunch, the government still supports them to grow.”
“Arik is dying. Why won’t they support it? Then if you don’t support that, start a carrier that is reputable like Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, even Kenya, these are countries with their flag carriers which are bearing their flags like Nigeria Airways used to do. ”
“So inject funding to do that. Then you can now give it out to private industry to help you. Nigeria has the fund to do this.
Nigerians travel a lot but we don’t have a carrier to do that. If Ethiopia could do it, why can’t we? If South Africa could do it, why can’t we? In terms of funding we are the richest country in Africa today. We have everything in this country that can make us sustainable. ”
He went on to decry that the country is lacking in various areas from the health monitoring system of an aircraft to the lack of a national carrier as well as a hangar, things that could provide a robust system.
He said,”Do we have aviation industry in Nigeria? It is zero. Flying a plane is not aviation. Do we have health monitoring system of an aircraft? We don’t have hangar where aircraft can roll into and be checked. We don’t have even national carrier that goes overseas. All we have is foreign aircraft that come to help us carry passengers. We don’t have airspace system; our system is porous. A small state like Ethiopia has all these things. Generally, we don’t have aviation industry, that’s what I can say. We don’t have even the airports; they are not adequately equipped. Mention one airport that is international in Nigeria, none.”
On the MMIA and NAIA he said,”What do they have there? Just fly to a place like Dubai. When you get to that place, the terminal alone will tell you that there is an airport. Do we have such terminal here? They have extended the Murtala Mohammed Airport but it is not enough to actually depict us. The only airport that has the longest strip in West Africa today is Uyo. Boeing 747 or Airbus 380 can actually land in that airport. ”
He further spoke on the government concession plans stating that it will build a future of space industry.
“You have to generate a benchmark for the industry to grow. When you have achieved that you can now privatize it. Heathrow Airport was privatized but government is still putting a lot of money. ”
On the impact of Aeronautics and Astronautics to the aviation industry and how it can impact on man power development, professor David said:
“Let me tell you aviation college is a flying school where pilots are trained to fly planes. What we are doing is bigger than that. In fact, Aviation College is a microcosm of Aeronautics and Astronautics programme. By the way KWASU is even trying to build an Aerodrome in Malete and that is going to help. You can be trained as a pilot but you don’t need to know the mechanisms of the engineering programme of that plane. ”
“If you are now coming to study Aeronautics and Astronautics, you study Engineering of Aeronautics and Astronautics which includes system, computations and transportation. The transportation of aircraft, launch vehicles, rocketry, satellite system and all that. The general engineering programme of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Nigeria is a very big deal because we don’t have it, KWASU started it and we are in a pipeline of integrated system. ”
“The system means what’s our space programme? What’s the territorial integrity of this country? What can we do? Can we generate the kind of expertise that can help us develop Aerospace Industry, Space Industry, even the Sea Industry, our naval system all coming together?”
“The manpower we are training with time would build the system automatically. A little drop of water would make a mighty ocean. So from where we are, we are still not achieving what we intend to have in terms of the national goal of having aviation industry but with this small step, we would actually get there. What we need is funding to train the manpower we need.”