International Air Transport Association (IATA) says more jobs can be created and additional economic growth achieved in Nigeria if the West African nation uses the transformative power of aviation as a strategic pillar to further strengthen and enhance its economic recovery and national development.
This is the message that will be conveyed by Muhammad Ali Albakri, IATA’s regional vice president for the Middle East and Africa, who will lead a delegation from the global industry body, in a series of high-level meetings in Lagos with stakeholders across the Nigerian aviation value chain.
“Air transport in Nigeria supports more than 650,800 jobs including tourism-related employment, while contributing $8.2 billion to the country‘s GDP. Over the next 10 years passenger volumes are forecast to grow more than 7 percent annually, exceeding the global average by a healthy margin.
“For Nigeria this means an additional 7.9 million passengers will take to the sky every year, creating significant opportunity to accelerate economic growth, boost prosperity and support development,” Albakri said.
“Despite significant investment in Nigeria’s aviation sector, the country’s air transport infrastructure still ranks low among African states. IATA recognises and supports the positive developments by the government on infrastructure and aviation processes, urging continued adherence to international best practices and an optimal regulatory environment.
“Now that the country is emerging from recession, aviation can unlock the enormous economic potential that exists within Nigeria. We encourage the government to continue to promote aviation for its role as a catalyst and socioeconomic enabler for the country, and to promote stronger connectivity within Nigeria and its neighbouring African countries.
“In addition, now is the time to continue to invest in modern and efficient infrastructure to accommodate the future traffic growth that will occur,” he said.
During his visit to Nigeria, Albakri’s delegation will meet industry stakeholders from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents, IATA member airlines based in Nigeria and other domestic and international airlines.