The News: The Federal Government has set up an Aviation Cargo committee to put in place machinery to aid boost the aviation industry’s contribution to the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by focusing on air cargo.
Why it Matters: Stakeholders have expressed concern about the neglect of Yakubu Gowon Airport in Jos, Plateau State, which was a leader in aviation cargo export in the 1980s and 1990s in the North Central Zone, as it adversely affects the transportation of agricultural products in the country.
Speaking at the tour of the Jos Yakubu Gowon Airport, Ikechi Uko, coordinator of the Avia-Cargo committee which was set by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said:
“We are here to know how Jos became number one and how we ruined it. What are the lessons that we can learn from the past and how can we make Nigeria the number one in Africa? Was it a lack of airlines, logistics or capacity that made us fail?”
“Why have we not been able to do that because we have not put in place a system that will adequately take care of the things that we produce. We produce a lot of things in this country but we are not able to sell,” he added.
What Now: According to the General Manager of the Yakubu Gowon Airport, Rindap Nantim, the management plans to establish Jos Airport as a hub for the North Central Zone. He is optimistic that this goal will be accomplished through the revitalized efforts of FAAN.
He said: “In the 1980s and 1990s, fresh flowers, meat and other agricultural produce were airlifted from this airport to several other cities and countries, but now, the airport is a ghost of its former self. This is not because the facilities are not there, but no one is encouraging investors to come here.”
“However, our dream is becoming a reality with this Avia-Cargo Committee. One of the things I discussed with the management of FAAN at a retreat organised for staff in 2022 in Kano was cargo development for our airports, especially the Jos airport.