European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, has pledged to collaborate with the federal government in the establishment of an Aviation University.
The vice president of Airbus Group for Africa, Vincent Larnicol who disclosed this in Abuja when he met with the minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said the collaboration would be done through its (Airbus’) Cooperation Programme.
Besides, he said the Airbus Group was interested in keying to the federal government’s plan to hand over the major airports in the country to some concessionaires, as well as establish a national carrier.
Larnicol who commended the government’s plan to establish an aircraft leasing company in view of the inherent difficulties in acquiring new aircraft added that that company had expanded beyond Europe by establishing subsidiaries in the United States, China, Japan, India and in the Middle East with spare parts centres in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Washington, Beijing, Dubai and Singapore as well as engineering and training centres in Toulouse, Miami, Wichita, Hamburg, Bangalore and Beijing; and more than 150 field service offices around the world.
“In its desire to get closer to its customers, Airbus is also actively developing engineering, manufacturing and service capabilities in Europe, China, India, Russia, the Middle East, Singapore and the United States,” he added.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation and French ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer had said the aircraft manufacturer intended to open an operational office in Nigeria as a mark of confidence in the government’s agenda for the aviation industry in Nigeria.
In his response, Sirika unveiled the government’s programmes for the aviation sector including the establishment of a private sector-driven national carrier, concession of the nation’s major airports to make them more viable and up to global standard, repositioning domestic airlines to make them competitive and profitable, establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility and development of human capital for the anticipated expansion of the sector.
“The plan is to gradually reposition the Nigerian aviation industry in such a way that would turn the nation into a regional hub for air transportation, given the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) forecast of a quadruple growth for the nation’s air travel in the next ten years,” said Sirika.
He expressed Nigeria’s preparedness to collaborate with all genuine partners, stressing however that “government’s decisions and actions will always be guided by the protection of national interests.”