Aircraft manufacturing giant and lessor, Airbus Group, has expressed intention to open an operational office in Nigeria.
President of the Airbus Group for Africa, Vincent Larnicol who joined a delegation led by Ambassador of France in Nigeria, Denys Gauer made this known on Thursday on a visit to the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
The Airbus Executive informed Sirika of the Group’s interest in plans by government to attract concession in the sector.
The Airbus Group for Africa, Vice President told Sirika that the company has expanded upon on its strong European roots to move forward on an international scale with fully owned subsidiaries in the United States, China, Japan, India and in the Middle East with spare parts centres in Hamburg,Frankfurt, Washington, Beijing, Dubai and Singapore.
There is also engineering and training centres in Toulouse, Miami, Wichita, Hamburg, Bangalore and Beijing; and more than 150 field service offices around the world.
The intention to open an office in Nigeria, Airbus said is a mark of confidence in the government’s agenda for the aviation industry.
This is just as the group informed Sirika of its interest in government’s plans to concession the nation’s airports as well as the establishment of a national carrier.
He commended government’s plan to establish an aircraft leasing company in view of the inherent difficulties in acquiring new aircraft.
According to him, Airbus, in its desire to get closer to its customers, is also actively developing engineering, manufacturing and service capabilities in Europe, China, India, Russia, the Middle East, Singapore and the United States. This, he said also informed the decision to establish its presence in Nigeria with the opening of an operational office.
In response, Sirika informed the delegation that the vision of the government for the sector include, among others; the establishment of a private sector-driven national carrier, concession of the nation’s major airports to make viable.
He said :” Our plan is to make the airports attain global standards, repositioning domestic airlines to make them competitive and profitable, establish Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities as well as the development of human capital for the anticipated expansion of the sector.”
According to the Minister, the plan of the Buhari government was to gradually reposition the Nigerian Aviation industry in such a way that would turn the nation into a regional hub for air transportation, given the ICAO forecast of a quadruple growth for the nation’s air travel in the next ten years.
He expressed Nigeria’s preparedness to collaborate with all genuine partners, insisting, however, that government decisions and actions would always be guided by the protection of national interests.
Sirika said: “The vision of the Buhari Administration for the Aviation sector has continued to attract global industry players into the country with the desire to be part of the expected reforms and developments, the latest being the visit from a delegation from industry giant, the Airbus Group of France.”