Aviation sector growth forecast pegged at 174% in 20 years — Sirika


By Tobi Adetunji

The growth forecast for the Nigeria Air Transport market is 174per cent in the next 20 years and if met, would have supported approximately $4.7 billion of GDP and over 555,000 jobs.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, during a conference organized by the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN), held in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

Sirika noted that the sector was in a recovery mode, therefore, tasked members of union organisations to avoid threats and spates of industrial actions, which would only further inhibit the growth badly needed by the industry.

He said, “We are in a period of recovery, so this is not the time for threats and spate of industrial actions which will only further inhibit the growth the industry so badly needs.

“The pandemic hit and aviation became one of the major casualties of COVID-19 and in an industry that is known for low margins, especially the airline sector where labour is one of the largest cost, lowering labour costs is very attractive.

“IATA records show that as at 2018, air transport in Nigeria supported 241,000 jobs with a gross value added to GDP of $1.7billion.

“The growth forecast for the Nigeria Air Transport market is 174% in the next 20 years. If met, this would support approximately $4.7 billion of GDP and over 555,000 jobs.”

Sirika cautioned Aviation unions against issuing threats of strikes over Conditions of Service (CoS), a statement he issued in Lagos, on Saturday, said.

He charged the unions to work with the management of aviation agencies for the recovery of the industry and its growth.

He said the serious challenges posed by COVID-19 demand that all stakeholders work together to fashion out a viable pathways to a strong and healthy aviation industry that will offer everybody, including the workers, the desired dividends.

The minister added that lowering labour costs becomes very attractive and unions would always kick, yet, the industry needs labour just as labour needs the industry.

According to him, government, employers and labour must work together for the best interest of the aviation industry, as this was what can guarantee job security and prosperity for stakeholders.

Lending credence to the position of the Minister, The National President, ATSSSAN, Mr Ilitrus Ahmadu, noted that the first is the need for labour unions and employers in the sector to invest in industrial peace.

He said the call had become necessary considering the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the aviation sector in the country, adding that this is the time for labour and employers to embrace constructive dialogue and negotiations to the effective resolution of disputes.

He said that 80per cent of the successes achieved by his administration had been through table engagements with employers, including the Federal Government.