The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to maximise the potential in the aviation sector to create jobs for the teeming unemployed Nigerians.
Capt. Noggie Meggisson, gave the advice in Abuja on the sidelines of the ongoing International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) World Aviation Forum (IWAF).
Meggisson said:”Today, statistics shows that 60 per cent of Nigerians are below the age of 27; are we creating jobs for them?
“Today, we have 400 pilots unemployed; are we creating jobs for them?
“Today, we have thousands of graduates and we need to create jobs for them.’’
He said Nigeria’s hosting of the third edition of the IWAF taking place for the first time outside the ICAO headquarters in Montreal, Canada, was a big plus to the country.
“It is something to be joyful about. It is the first of its kind and shows that Nigeria has been recognised, it is left for us now to take our position.
“The investors should come and see by themselves that the potential in Nigeria is huge. The world has come in now and it is left for us to push and showcase what we have.
“For the world to agree to come to Nigeria, it is obvious that we are a power house.”
Meggisson opposed the call for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to increase the number of aircraft required for the issuance of Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to a minimum of 20 aircraft.
He stressed that those demanding for the increase should also be bold enough to come and invest in airline business.
“They should come and invest their monies into the business.
‘’People that are in the field already should be lauded for being able to operate in these hard times, especially with the interest rate at 26 per cent.
“So, we should be given kudos and not side distractions because we don’t even have the routes to accommodate every airline having 20 aircraft.
“The investors in aviation have worked hard and put Nigeria first because they believe in the country. They want to create jobs and make economic impact.”
The AON president advised the government to review Nigeria’s Bi-lateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) and limit entry points for foreign airlines.
“Ethiopian Airlines for example comes into Nigeria in five points, but how many points do our airlines go into other countries.
“Unfortunately, there is no benefit for us as a country because most of the foreign airlines don’t even employ Nigerians.”