Nigeria Targets $6trn Cargo Market, Resumes Cargo Flights With Saudi Arabia

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

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The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Barr. Festus Keyamo has announced the country’s readiness to resume Cargo flights with Saudi Arabia.

Keyamo announced this on Monday while giving the Scorecard for the Aviation Sector at the Ministerial Sectoral Update for the Present Administration at the National Press Centre, Radio House, Abuja.

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“I met my counterpart in Saudi Arabia and we have agreed that we are going to resume cargo flights between Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. Now cargo flights are back”, he announced.

The visibly elated Minister noted that the air cargo moves over $6trillion worth of goods, representing approximately 35 percent of the world trade by value, according to the International Air Trasport Association (IATA), and Nigeria has been missing that opportunity.

Keyamo also announced that through diplomatic efforts coordinated with United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities, he successfully facilitated the resumption of Emirates Flights from October 1, 2024, adding that the achievement has strengthened air travel connectivity between Nigeria and the UAE.

While announcing the Ministry’s plans to optimise revenue generation by plugging all revenue leakages, the Minister said, the Ministry was able to work with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to clear the longstanding backlog of funds trapped for foreign airlines.

He added: “this significant achievement resolved an issue that had persisted for years positively impacting the financial stability of the aviation industry”.

The aviation boss also listed the swift repair and reactivation of the Lagos second runway (18R), which had been out of service for a year, as part of the  achievements of the Ministry.

He said, efforts are ongoing to power the Lagos airport with solar, revealing that about N1billion is spent on electricity monthly at the Lagos airport.

He further disclosed that about 50 proposals have so far been received from people who are interested in running the nation’s airports, adding that government has no business in running the airports because of bureaucracies.

On Nigeria Air, the Minister said, it remains suspended, noting that what referred to Nigeria Air was just an Ethiopian Airline flying the nation’s flag.

He argued that Nigeria Air must be indigenous for the full benefit of the country and not giving 50 percent of the profits to another country.

On training, he said, the Aviation industry is of the industries set up that attracts the highest number of trainings, saying that it is very contemporary, and because of safety.

In terms of infrastructure development, you can fault the ministry of aviation

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