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Nigeria to launch new airports, terminal to support embattled aviation sector

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PHOTO NEWS: Buhari commissions new Abuja airport terminal

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the Federal Government will open two airports for operation by end of March 2021, while two more airport will follow there after.

According to Sirika, the new Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) terminal and Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) will be open to the public for operation by end of March.

He also mentioned that Akanu Ibiam International Airport (AIIA), Enugu terminal, will commence operation soon, but didn’t give a timeframe. Sirika made this known at the Nigeria’s National Action Committee on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“We also advocate for special support for aviation industry specifically, to fast track systems upgrade in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu in a view to matching international best standards.

“In our own modest way in Nigeria, we have developed these five airports. We have completed Abuja, Port Harcourt and put to use. Kano is completed and will be put to use in March, Lagos will be put to use in the same March and Enugu in due course.” Sirika said.

Read also: Aviation Minister, Sirika, receives Allied Air aircraft for distribution of COVID-19 vaccines

What you need to know

The commencement of the airports and terminal are expected to boost Nigeria’s aviation revenue which took a hit during the lockdown induced by COVID-19 pandemic. Sirika had revealed in May 2020, that Nigeria’s aviation sector lost N20 billion monthly since the lockdown.

Due to global lockdown, aviation industry worldwide could not conduct operations, as only humanitarian flights was allowed for operation globally during the lockdown which took about four months in Nigeria.

About N180 billion was lost by Nigerian travel industry in the first two months of the lockdown, according to former President, National Associations of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Bankole Bernard.

He also stated that about 24,000 jobs were cut during the lockdown. Also, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in April 2020, said African airlines could loss $6 billion in passenger revenue in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

Aviation industry contracted by 36.98 percent in 2020, reflecting the significance revenue loss by airlines. The lockdown jacked airlines’ cost of operation up upon resumption, and this resulted to airlines placing the cost burden on air passengers, with one ticket rising from N33,000 to N70,000.

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