Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said that for the aviation industry to be transformed in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general, the principle of Yamoussoukro Decision should be made sacrosanct.
He said it is exactly what has helped the European nations to develop the aviation community, adding that Nigeria must not be left behind, but would take advantage of the liberalisation of the airspace, otherwise known as the Yamoussoukro Decision.
The minister said this in a paper on his position on what is generally referred to as Africa’s ‘Open Skies.’
His words: “My take is that Yamoussoukro Decision is sacrosanct. It is what we need to transform our industry. It is exactly what has helped the European countries to develop the aviation community. Nigeria will not be left behind. We will take advantage of it. We are for it.
Then we are also for Open Skies, even though it may look at the moment to our disadvantage when you look at Ethiopia with Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya with Kenya Airways, South Africa with South African Airways, Morocco with Air Maroc and so on.
“There are airlines and there are many aircraft going from one place to another, it is not the case with Nigeria, which is very unfortunate.
But regardless, I think it will give us advantage and very soon when we establish our own national carrier, it will seem that we are going to be a major beneficiary,” he added.
He said with an estimated 180 million population, 22 airports serving all nooks and crannies of the country, the future is bright for aviation in Nigeria.
Africa is said to be home to 12 per cent of the world’s people, but it accounts for less than one per cent of the global air service market.
Part of the reasons for Africa’s under-served status, according to a just-published World Bank study, “Open Skies for Africa – Implementing the Yamoussoukro Decision,” is that many African countries restrict their air services markets to protect the share held by state-owned air carriers.