Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, on Friday urged the Air Force Institute of Technology to develop indigenous solutions to the overwhelming challenges in the nation’s aviation sector.
Amaechi who gave the advice during the 46th convocation of the Institute held in Kaduna, said it should go into partnership with stakeholders to address the challenges.
He listed some of the challenges to include high rate of foreign exchange, soaring prices of imported aviation products, services and running costs for airline operators.
The minister added that aviation industry players were also finding it difficult to import spare parts and carry out routine maintenance.
Amaechi, therefore, said the institute should take advantage of the situation by developing robust training curriculum and exchange programmes in knowledge and skills acquisition as well as in facilities and equipment utilization.
“This would produce a pool of quality maintenance manpower in line with international standards and reduce or eliminate the need to conduct routine maintenance checks overseas.
“Similarly, I would urge the institute to take lead and engage in joint research efforts for the manufacture of aviation products.
“Realisation of this would reduce running cost, sustain airline operations in Nigeria and contribute to achieving the needed change in Nigeria aviation industry.”
Amaechi recalled some of the feat recorded by the institute, saying it had set a mark of excellence in the country.
He listed such achievements to include design and manufacture of a drone, successful test firing of indigenous rocket and ongoing project to produce light training aircraft among others.
The minister assured that the administration would continue to push for change in national focus and encourage indigenous science and technology advancements.
In his remark the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, stressed that the Nigeria Air Force would continue to grow in size and sophistication using latest technology.
Abubakar told the graduates to apply their knowledge to the growth and development of the nation and the benefit of humanity.
Our correspondent reports that 247 students graduated from the institute with 11 of them receiving various awards.