To enable African carriers spread their tentacles across the continent, the newly elected President of Airports Council International (ACI), Africa, Saleh Dunoma has said that part of what he intends to achieve as ACI Africa President is to assist African airlines achieve better connectivity.
To make this possible, Dunoma said that ACI Africa may be left with no option than that of creating an incentive in form of encouragement to the African airlines.
Speaking on developments at the global aviation industry at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) headquarters in Lagos recently after his resumption of duty as President of ACI, Africa in Maputo, Dunoma said the international aviation body will work out an incentive to enable them provide African airlines a better connectivity.
According to him, there are lots of things the ACI would do just as he pointed out that their concern mostly is to make sure that ACI continues to improve the environment for safe secure aviation business.
Stating further, the board member of ACI World said “There are lots of things that we need to do. Because of the global challenges that we have, we need to make sure we improve our security in all our airports in Africa. Not only that, the next important thing is commercials. We need revenue to sustain some of our operations. We need air services which are critical. We need connectivity because right now, we don’t have the connectivity that we require to cover the entire Africa continent and this is our immediate concern. We also need proper and improved air services. We need to collaborate with African airlines through African Airlines Association (AFRAA) or IATA to make sure that African airlines are developed in such a way that they rate with other airports. We need to look at creating an environment so that these African airports get access to our airports”.
“Whatever it means, if it means getting some incentives or encouragement or whatever it takes to bring our African airlines to cover all African airports that we have to improve connectivity in Africa. We will sit down and look at them critically and collaborate with stakeholders to make sure that we achieve proper connectivity, within the African airspace and African airport it will go a long way in improving the growth of our airlines and services within the continent of Africa. There are the other things that we need to add, in addition to safety and security, that will make our aviation robust. It is a growing economy and there are so many potentials to make sure that we encourage investors into African aviation business, Dunoma added.
At the global stage, Dunoma pointed out that the present government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has salvaged the country’s image at the International level, pointing out that the new positive image which the country exhibits is part of what made his election as the President of ACI, Africa very easy.
The FAAN Managing Director who said that the present government has worked so hard to improve the image of Nigeria added “Now what is important is that our present government has worked so hard to improve the image of Nigeria. Before this time, I wouldn’t have shown my face. Looking at the traffic of Nigerian population, one would have imagined that all these while, Nigerians would have been heading this organization but unfortunately, it has not been so because of the politics at home. But now, the present government has salvaged our image at the global village. As a result of that, it became so easy for me”.
Commending the Aviation Minister, the ACI Africa boss said the recent trips embarked by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika is already bearing fruits “the present Minister Of Aviation , since they assumed powers has been travelling all over the world and that has improved our image as far as the aviation sector is concerned. This has greatly helped us because a lot of my colleagues thought; well, Nigeria is living up to expectation as far as the aviation industry is concerned. That made my election very easy. I had support from most of the countries and I emerged winner. This government played a role in clearing the ground for me to becoming the President of ACI Africa”, he said.
On what he intends to leave as legacy in ACI Africa, Dunoma said that he has plans to build robust relationship with the approving authorities in the various member states.
“We intend to explore more and the relationship between African Union with ACI Africa through, of course the rightful channels. We have regional, ECOWAS and we have groupings. We will use the ECOWAS to get African Heads of States. We intend to improve that; so at the end of the day, there will be smooth and proper relationship between us and them and they will see reasons to approve us on all the issues we tend to bring out in the future. And we get the blessings of these governments as quickly as possible”.
The ACI board member concurred that Nigerians are holding sensitive positions at the global aviation industry, stressing that it is a sign that Nigerians and Nigeria are playing their role properly in the industry.
“It means that Nigerians and Nigeria are playing their role properly in the industry. The industry recognizes that. That is why you have these positions occupied by Nigerians. One thing that I want to mention here that played this advantage is that , of course if you look at Africa as a whole, it is a growing economy; it is large and there are lots of potentials in Africa. And then, if you look at the position of Nigeria in Africa, you discover that Nigeria is a great market”, Dunoma said.
He added “We have the largest population. Of course this number played to our advantage. If you look at the location of Nigeria, in the map of Africa and entire world; Nigeria is central, from Nigeria, it takes you an average of equal time to go to any region in the world. The population really played to our advantage. Again, being the greatest economy in Africa, the tendency is that everybody is looking up to Nigeria for leadership. Nigerians are hardworking people. Once you give them responsibility, they dedicate themselves to that responsibility and make sure they do their best. That is why in any groupings in any association, Nigerians there excel. They are looking at these qualities Nigerians have inherent in them .and when they are giving such assignments, it comes to play. With that, I think a Nigerian can be anything”.