The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said that the implementation of a roadmap to chart a path for the aviation sector in Nigeria has led to a number of record-breaking achievements in the nation’s aviation industry, which he admitted had been variously acknowledged and applauded by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The roadmap was developed to serve as a catalyst for a comprehensive overhaul of the aviation industry in Nigeria so as to position the country as an air transportation hub within the West and Central African sub-region.
The Minister reiterated that aviation was a channel to achieving the development of other sectors as it remains the fastest and safest mode of domestic and international movement.
Sirika made the declaration in a statement to commemorate the 2022 International Civil Aviation Day held under the theme ‘Advancing innovation for global aviation development.’ He restated Nigeria’s commitment to the ideals of ICAO.
The minister said the commitment was exemplified in the government’s development of the aviation sector, with a roadmap, which according to him, was developed at the inception of the current administration.
According to him, “The implementation of the roadmap has led to a number of record-breaking achievements in the nation’s aviation industry which have been variously acknowledged and applauded by ICAO.
“Globally, it is a well-known fact that aviation doubles every fifteen years but in the case of Nigeria, it has more than doubled and in another fifteen years, it will quadruple”.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) aviation became the fastest growing sector of the economy pre-covid and during covid; the third fastest growing sector after covid, according to Airport Council International (ACI). “We are at 111 per cent of pre-covid numbers. Apart from Colombia, we are the only country on earth that recovered so fast, and we have added even 11 per cent of precovid numbers,” he said.
The statistics, according to Sirika, “reinforce the continuous commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the International Civil Aviation Organization whose regulations have continued to guide the industry in ensuring the safety records that the country has established.
The minister hailed the President of the ICAO council, Salvatore Siacchitano, and members of the global aviation community for the ICAN22 event on the Day and hoped that Nigeria will continue to have the privilege of hosting more ICAO events in the future.
“The purpose of International Civil Aviation Day is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping States to cooperate and realize a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind,” Sirika stressed.
Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has developed new industry standards designed to make travel a whole lot easier. Working with airlines, it seeks to digitise the passenger experience at airports with contactless biometric-enabled processes. As part of the One ID initiative, the ‘ready-to-fly’ process shall be introduced at airports in the future.
This contactless method is already in place at several airports — such as boarding without producing paper documentation because their boarding pass is linked to a biometric identifier. It saves the traveller time and the hassle of having to deal with paperwork.
However, in some cases, travellers may still have to prove their admissibility at check-in desks or boarding gates, with physical checks of documents such as passports, visas or health certificates.
The new process will allow travellers to digitally prove admissibility to an international destination, which means that they do not have to stop at check-in desks or boarding gates for any checks.
The One ID system will allow passengers to digitally obtain all necessary pre-travel authorisations directly from governments before their trip. By sharing the “OK to Fly” status with their airline, travellers can avoid all on-airport document checks.
“Passengers want technology to make travel simpler. By enabling passengers to prove their admissibility to their airline before they get to the airport, we are taking a major step forward.
The recent IATA Global Passenger survey found that 83 per cent of travellers are willing to share immigration information for expedited processing.
“That is why we are confident this will be a popular option for travellers when it is implemented. And there is a good incentive for airlines and governments as well with improved data quality, streamlined resourcing requirements and identification of admissibility issues before passengers get to the airport,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice- President for Operations, Safety and Security