Aeronautical engineers have said the creation and implementation of local content law will enhance the country’s aviation industry growth.
The engineers and other stakeholders said the industry had been exposed to exploitation due to lack of local content law implementation.
The General Manager, Air Operators Certification and Surveillance, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Godwin Balang, at the 2019 public lecture and annual general meeting of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Aeronautical Division, said stakeholders should examine the success of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act of 2010 and replicate it in the aviation sector.
According to him, the lack of local content development law for aviation is the reason for the lack of traction in the development of local content in the aviation industry despite over 90 years of aviation hands-on experience.
Balang said, “Today, most of the aviation service providers depend on other countries for the provision of critical functions/resources such as heavy aircraft maintenance, calibration/spare parts for navigational aids, periodic simulator training for pilots and construction of airports.
“Let us be more deliberate in the local content development in Nigeria by first passing a law similar to the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act of 2010 for aviation. In implementation of such law, safety and quality must not be compromised and therefore, where the country lacks expertise, encourage foreign expertise and investment with clear requirements for technology transfer from the foreign experts to the locals.”
Other stakeholders, who spoke on the theme, ‘Local content development in the aviation industry’ said they were concerned about the state of the country’s aviation industry.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who was represented by Nigeria’s Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Ben Tukur, said there was a drive towards change through engagement of more Nigerians to work for the country.
He said, “Most of our aviation services are done outside the country. These are things such as aircraft maintenance, D-checks, which is only done by Aero Contractors, spare parts and even calibration of our navigational aids.
“But I am happy to tell you that recently, Nigeria acquired an aircraft that is solely for the purpose of calibration. And very soon, we will be providing that service to other African countries.”
He stated that for many years, the Federal Government used to train aviation fire fighters and rescue service handlers outside the country, but the government had realised that the country had the capacity.
“So, we have procured the latest firefighting simulator for the training of our own and others if need be. There are also other forms of training we have domesticated to create capacity for our own,” he said.
A former Director-General of the NCAA, Dr Harold Demuren, called for manpower development in the industry.
Demuren said this would boost local capacity, adding that training would lead to local content development.
He also urged the FG to address problems associated with aviation fuel.